What is Bordetella Pertussis (IgG/IgM)? What does a positive result mean? Lab results explained

Bordetella pertussis, small coccoid gram-negative rod-shaped bacteria, is the causative agent of pertussis, a respiratory disease. The bacteria are transmitted by droplet infection from individual to individual. The disease mainly affects children in the age of 0-4 years. It shows a high lethality in newborns.

The Immunolab Bordetella pertussis IgG/IgM/IgA ELISAs are quantitative and qualitative tests for the detection of human antibodies to Bordetella pertussis in serum and plasma. The main intended use of the test are both diagnostics of Bordetella pertussis infections and support of epidemiological investigations.

Bordetella pertussis causes whooping cough, a worldwide infectious disease that is transmitted from person to person by droplet infection.

Four species, Bordetella pertussis, B. parapertussis, B. bronchiseptica and B. avium belong to the bacterial genus of Bordetella.

These bacteria are ubiquitous, small, gram-negative obligatory aerobic coccoid single or paired bacteria.

B. pertussis and B parapertussis are human pathogens causing whooping cough (=pertussis) and a milder form, which is less common (atypical pertussis). The other two species mostly cause respiratory diseases in warmblooded animals. However, in rare cases (e.g. close contact with animals) B. bronchiseptica is an opportunistic secondary human pathogen in case of infections like bronchitis, pneumonia or wound infections. Even though there are phenotypic differences between the three human pathogenic Bordetella species, their DNA is 72-94% homologous. Therefore, it is currently being discussed whether to combine them in a single species or three subspecies of one species.

Especially children at the age of 0-4 years are affected, and the mortality of infected infants is high. The attachment of B. pertussis to the tuft of ciliated cells in the mucosa of the human respiratory tract is mediated by adhesins. An important adhesion protein and an equally important immunogen is the so called filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA). Colonizing of the respiratory tract and establishment of infection are facilitated by the synergistic action of several virulence factors. A significant virulence factor is pertussis toxin (PT), which is exclusively synthesized and secreted by B. pertussis. Multiple biologic effects like leukocytosis, lymphocytosis, mitogenicity and increased sensitivity to histamine are caused by PT. 

The typical whooping cough can be divided into three stages:

– the catarrhal phase,

– the convulsivum (paroxysmal) phase,

– and the decrementi phase.


Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you. 

The information on is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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