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J Clin Microbiol. 2005 Jun;43(6):2856-65.

Shifts of Bordetella pertussis variants in Sweden from 1970 to 2003, during three periods marked by different vaccination programs.

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  • 1Department of Immunology and Vaccine Research, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI), S-171 82 Solna, Sweden.


The Swedish population of Bordetella pertussis strains was characterized from 1,247 isolates covering a whole-cell vaccine program up to 1979, a 17-year period without vaccination (1979 to 1996), and a period after the introduction of general vaccination among newborns with acellular pertussis vaccines (1997 to 2003). Strains were characterized by serotyping and genotyping of pertactin and ptxA and by means of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). With emphasis on vaccine-related markers, the vast majority of circulating strains were of nonvaccine type. There were shifts of serotype connected with shifts of vaccination program. Serotype Fim3 was most frequent during the periods with general vaccination schedules, whereas serotype Fim2 was predominant during the 17-year vaccine-free period. Pertactin 1 was predominant during the pertussis whole-cell (Pw) vaccine period but was thereafter replaced by prn2 and has not reappeared after the introduction of acellular pertussis (Pa) vaccines. ptxA (1) was predominant over all three decades. There was a significant difference in the distribution of serotypes between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, but not for pertactin. A few PFGE profiles were predominant over the years: BpSR25 (serotype Fim3 prn1/7) and BpSR18 (serotype Fim3 prn2) during the Pw period, BpSR1 (serotype Fim2 prn2) during the 17 years without general vaccination, and BpSR11 (serotype Fim3 prn2) after the reintroduction of general vaccination in 1996. Despite differences between the pertactin and toxin types of Pa vaccines and circulating strains, there is no evidence that there is a threat, i.e., the vaccination program so far has been effective against whooping cough, and there seems to be no impact on the effectiveness of the vaccination program from the bacterial polymorphism.

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