Quest Test

Bordetella Pertussis Antibodies Blood Test, IgG

Quick Overview

Detects Bordetella Pertussis (Whooping Cough) and Bordetella Parapertussis (Whooping cough-like syndrome).

Test #17826


Availability: In stock

Also Known As Whooping Coug; Bordetella Pertussis Antibodies, IgG, Filamentous Hemagglutinin Antigen IgG
Preparation No special preparation required.
Test Results 2-3 days. May take longer based on weather, holiday or lab delays.

Why It Is Used

The Bordetella pertussis blood test is primarily used to test for Bordetella pertussis bacterium, an infection that causes whooping cough.  The early symptoms of whooping cough are very similar to those of many other colds.  One may experience a runny nose, light coughing, sneezing, or a low-grade fever.  These symptoms persist for about two weeks, and then the symptoms start to worsen and an affected individual will experience frequent episodes of intense coughing that is often followed by a whooping sound as the individual sucks in air.  Sometimes the coughing causes the individual to vomit.  Also, not all patients make the whooping sound after they cough, and very young children and infants are more likely to make a choking sound.  Doctors will usually order the blood test during this stage of the infection.

How It Works

The Bordetella pertussis infection is a respiratory disease, attacking the lungs.  In response to the infection, the body starts to produce pertussis antibodies and white blood cells to fight off the infection.  If the infection persists the body will continue to release more antibodies.  The energy needed to fight the infection often results in the individual feeling very fatigued.  In children, whose immune systems are not yet fully developed, this can be a quite serious infection and may result in long-term respiratory damage or death.  Most adults are able to deal with the infection better, but some may cough so hard that they fracture or bruise their ribs.  Luckily, this disease is far less common in the United States than it used to be because most infants are vaccinated for the disease.  However, the vaccination includes three shots that are given over the course of six months.  Infants are not fully vaccinated until they are six months old, which leaves them vulnerable to whooping cough before that time.


Results from the blood test for Bordetella pertussis indicate the level of pertussis antibodies and white blood cells in the bloodstream.  High levels of these antibodies in the blood suggest that the individual has a current pertussis infection.  Low levels of the antibody, however, do not completely rule out pertussis.  If positive IgG antibody to B. pertussis detected, this may indicate a current or recent exposure/immunization to B. pertussis.  If one does have a verified pertussis infection, the doctor or the lab will report the infection to the health department in your state.  Doctors are required to make these reports so that the health department is aware of where outbreaks are occurring.  The health department works diligently to contain current outbreaks and prevent future outbreaks.  Bordetella pertussis if highly infectious, and individuals usually carry the infection for several weeks before it is recognized as pertussis. 

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