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Bordetella Pertussis Antibody (Blood)

Does this test have other names?

Whooping cough antibody test

What is this test?

This test checks for Bordetella pertussis antibodies in your blood. B. pertussis are the bacteria that cause pertussis, or whooping cough.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious childhood infection that can also affect adults. It can be quite serious and sometimes deadly, especially in children younger than 12 months. Its hallmark symptom is a cough that may last 1 to 6 weeks.

Although most people in the U.S. have been vaccinated against whooping cough, the number of cases of the disease has increased over the last few decades, especially among adults.

Why do I need this test?

You may have this test if your healthcare provider suspects that you have whooping cough.

You may need this test done twice several weeks apart to find out whether you have an active infection.

What other tests might I have along with this test?

Your healthcare provider may also order a culture test or other tests to confirm the results of the antibody test. These tests include checking for IgM or IgA antibodies.

What do my test results mean?

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you. 

If you've never been vaccinated against pertussis, a normal value of B. pertussis antibodies is zero. If you have been vaccinated, it's likely that you will have IgG antibodies to B. pertussis, even if you don't currently have an active pertussis infection.

How is this test done?

The test is done with a blood sample. A needle is used to draw blood from a vein in your arm or hand. 

Does this test pose any risks?

Having a blood test with a needle carries some risks. These include bleeding, infection, bruising, and feeling lightheaded. When the needle pricks your arm or hand, you may feel a slight sting or pain. Afterward, the site may be sore. 

What might affect my test results?

Taking antibiotics like erythromycin can give a false-negative result.

How do I get ready for this test?

You don't need to prepare for this test. Be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use.

Online Medical Reviewer: Fraser, Marianne, MSN, RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Haldeman-Englert, Chad, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2017
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