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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2013 Mar;32(3):421-3. doi: 10.1007/s10096-012-1759-7. Epub 2012 Oct 19.

External quality assessment of pertussis serology in Germany.

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Labor:Medizin Krefeld MVZ GmbH, Lutherplatz 40, 47805 Krefeld, Germany.


The purpose of this investigation was to test the performance of pertussis serology in diagnostic laboratories. The World Health Organization (WHO) Reference Reagent (06/142) and a sample with a low level of antibodies were sent to 200 participants of an external quality assessment (EQA) programme in Germany. The results were reported qualitatively and quantitatively, and were converted into IU/ml when possible. A total of 183 participants reported results. IgG, IgA and IgM enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) with mixed antigens were used by 111, 110 and 113 participants, respectively, and 69 and 44 participants used IgG and IgA ELISAs with purified pertussis toxin (PT), respectively. IgG, IgA and IgM immunoblots were employed by 62, 63 and 11 participants, respectively. Most tests could distinguish between the positive and negative samples, but quantitative results were reported partly in non-comparable units. Only 37 % of participants used ELISAs that gave results comparable to the expected values in IU/ml and that could be interpreted according to published recommendations.

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