Clinical Specimen Submission Guidance

Submit all specimens to 50 Orms St, Providence RI 02915. Open Monday to Friday 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Bordetella pertussis

Lab Special Pathogens & Biothreats Laboratory 401-222-5586
Organism Bordetella pertussis
Disease Pertussis
Test Description

PCR and culture to detect and confirm B. pertussis

PCR is performed using a lab developed Real-Time PCR Assay for detection of IS481 high copy number gene in Bordetella pertussis. The performance characteristics of this assay were validated by the RISHL. It is not approved nor cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Results are for epidemiological and investigational purposes only and may not be used as a substitute for diagnostic procedures not a guide to patient management decisions.

Special Instructions

Specimens: Nasopharyngeal specimen, right and left sides, collected on polyester tipped swabs (refer to specimen collection instructions). Cotton tipped swabs are unacceptable

Submit specimens in Regan-Lowe transport medium. Both swabs are to be submitted in one tube.

Isolates: Submit freshly growing pure isolates on Regan-Lowe or Bordet Gengou agar plate. Seal plates with parafilm or other barrier film.

CLIA regulations require two patient identifiers on the specimen container and the test requistion

Form Required Rhode Island State Health Laboratories (RISHL) test requisition form
Test Request

Specimens: Pertussis

Isolate: Special Pathogens Bacterial Isolate. Write "confirm B. pertussis" or "rule out B. pertussis" in comment field on requisition form


Specimens: Within 24 to 48 hours of collection at ambient (room) temperature (25 To 30 C). If specimen transport is delayed beyond 48 hours, store the specimen refrigerated at 2 to 8 C until transport.

Isolates: At ambient temperature as soon as possible after isolation of suspect colonies.

All submissions must be properly packaged in accordance with current federal shipping regulations. Containers specifically labeled for transport of specimens and isolates to the RISHL Bioterrorism Response & Special Pathogens Laboratory are available in all microbiology labs and laboratory send out departments.

Integrity Only nasopharyngeal specimens are accepted. Specimens must be received within five days from collection. Do not use Regan-Lowe transport tubes past their expiration date.
Normal Value

PCR: Negative for B. pertussis.

Culture: Culture negative for B. pertussis.

Reporting Requirement Providers must report patient information on Pertussis within 4 days using the RIDOH reportable disease form.
Turnaround Time

PCR: 1 business day.

Culture: 5-15 days (culture plates are held for 10 days before being reported as negative)

Kit Kits containing detailed collection instructions, transport media, and nasopharyngeal swabs are available from the RISHL Center for Laboratory Support Services and may be obtained Monday-Friday between 8:30am and 4:30pm. Media must be stored at 2 to 8 C until use. Discard media when expiration date is reached.