Methods for isolation of Bordetella pertussis from patients with whooping cough

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 1988 Oct;7(5):616-20. doi: 10.1007/BF01964238.


Culture remains the standard method for diagnosis of whooping cough. While in the past attempts at isolating Bordetella pertussis from patients with suspected whooping cough were often unsuccessful, new methods have recently been developed which are suitable for use in routine microbiology laboratories. Recent advances include the use of calcium alginate tipped swabs for taking nasopharyngeal swabs, use of charcoal horse blood agar for transport and culture, and the inclusion of cephalexin as a selective agent in agar media. Experience shows that careful application of these new methods often enables Bordetella pertussis to be isolated from clinical specimens, thereby permitting a diagnosis to be made at an early stage of the disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bordetella pertussis / isolation & purification*
  • Cephalexin
  • Culture Media
  • Humans
  • Nasopharynx / microbiology*
  • Specimen Handling / methods*
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Whooping Cough / microbiology*


  • Culture Media
  • Cephalexin