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Clin Infect Dis. 2013 Feb;56(3):322-31. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis888. Epub 2012 Oct 19.

Epidemiologic and laboratory features of a large outbreak of pertussis-like illnesses associated with cocirculating Bordetella holmesii and Bordetella pertussis--Ohio, 2010-2011.

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Epidemic Intelligence Service, Scientific Education and Professional Development Program Office, Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.



During 9 May 2010-7 May 2011, an outbreak of pertussis-like illness (incidence, 80 cases per 100 000 persons) occurred in Franklin County, Ohio. The majority of cases were identified by IS481-directed polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which does not differentiate among Bordetella species. We sought to determine outbreak etiology and epidemiologic characteristics.


We obtained demographic, clinical, and vaccination-related data from the Ohio Disease Reporting System and Impact Statewide Immunization Information System. We tested sera from 14 patients for anti-pertussis toxin (PT) antibodies and used species-specific PCR on 298 nasopharyngeal specimens.


Reported cases totaled 918. IS481 results were available for 10 serologically tested patients; 5 of 10 had discordant anti-PT antibody and IS481 results, suggestive of Bordetella holmesii, which lacks PT and harbors IS481. We identified specific Bordetella species in 164 of 298 specimens tested with multitarget PCR; B. holmesii and Bordetella pertussis were exclusively detected among 48 (29%) and 112 (68%), respectively; both were detected in 4 (2%). Among 48 patients with B. holmesii infections, 63% were aged 11-18 years, compared with 35% of 112 patients with B. pertussis infections (P = .001). Symptoms were similar among B. holmesii- and B. pertussis-infected patients. Adolescent pertussis ("Tdap") booster vaccinations were more effective against B. pertussis than B. holmesii (effectiveness: 67% and 36%, respectively; 95% confidence intervals, 38%-82% and -33% to 69%, respectively).


We report the first documented mixed outbreak of B. pertussis and B. holmesii infections. Bordetella holmesii particularly affected adolescents. Although laboratory capacity limitations might inhibit routine use of multitarget PCR for clinical diagnosis, focused testing and enhanced surveillance might improve understanding the burden of B. holmesii infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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