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Med J Aust. 1987 May 18;146(10):522-5.

Bordetella pertussis infection: a cause of persistent cough in adults.


An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for Bordetella pertussis-specific immunoglobulin (Ig)A antibody in serum was used to demonstrate B. pertussis infection. The upper limit of normal for the assay (mean + 3 SD) was established by testing sera that had been collected from a group of healthy blood donors. All 13 patients with clinical whooping cough from whom B. pertussis was isolated and 25.7% of 218 adults, who were aged 18-81 years, who were referred to a consultant physician for the investigation of a persistent cough, had elevated levels of IgA to B. pertussis. The study confirms the B. pertussis IgA ELISA as a sensitive test for the diagnosis of B. pertussis infections and that these infections cause respiratory illness, in particular, persistent cough in adults.

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