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J Clin Microbiol. 2011 Dec;49(12):4059-66. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00601-11. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

Novel multitarget real-time PCR assay for rapid detection of Bordetella species in clinical specimens.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mailstop D11, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.


A novel multitarget real-time PCR (RT-PCR) assay for the rapid identification of Bordetella pertussis, B. parapertussis, and B. holmesii was developed using multicopy insertion sequences (ISs) in combination with the pertussis toxin subunit S1 (ptxS1) singleplex assay. The RT-PCR targets for the multiplex assay include IS481, commonly found in B. pertussis and B. holmesii; IS1001 of B. parapertussis; and the IS1001-like sequence of B. holmesii. Overall, 402 Bordetella species and 66 non-Bordetella species isolates were tested in the multitarget assay. Cross-reactivity was found only with 5 B. bronchiseptica isolates, which were positive with IS1001 of B. parapertussis. The lower limit of detection (LLOD) of the multiplex assay was similar to the LLOD of each target in an individual assay format, which was approximately 1 genomic equivalent per reaction for all targets. A total of 197 human clinical specimens obtained during cough-illness outbreak investigations were used to evaluate the multitarget RT-PCR assay. The multiplex assay results from 87 clinical specimens were compared to the individual RT-PCR assay and culture results. The multitarget assay is useful as a diagnostic tool to confirm B. pertussis infections and to rapidly identify other Bordetella species. In conclusion, the use of this multitarget RT-PCR approach increases specificity, while it decreases the amount of time, reagents, and specimen necessary for RT-PCRs used for accurate diagnosis of pertussis-like illness.

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