Bordetella pertussis infection: a cause of persistent cough in adults

Med J Aust. 1987 May 18;146(10):522-5. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.1987.tb120392.x.


An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for Bordetella pertussis-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)A antibody in serum was used to demonstrate B. pertussis infection. The upper limit of normal for the assay (mean + 3 SD) was established by testing sera that had been collected from a group of healthy blood donors. All 13 patients with clinical whooping cough from whom B. pertussis was isolated and 25.7% of 218 adults, who were aged 18-81 years, who were referred to a consultant physician for the investigation of a persistent cough, had elevated levels of IgA to B. pertussis. The study confirms the B. pertussis IgA ELISA as a sensitive test for the diagnosis of B. pertussis infections and that these infections cause respiratory illness, in particular, persistent cough in adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cough / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Middle Aged
  • Serologic Tests
  • Whooping Cough / diagnosis*