Bordetella species


  • Bordetella organisms are small, aerobic Gram-negative coccobacilli [Fig 1].
  • Organisms are fastidious and need special media (such as charcoal blood agar with cephalexin, Regan Lowe or Bordet-Gengou media) for isolation.
  • Species:
    • B. pertussis: most common etiology of whooping cough and exclusively a human pathogen.
    • B. parapertussis: leads to less severe but similar symptoms.
    • B. bronchiseptica (agent of kennel cough)
      • Occasional human infections. Bacteria may be flagellated.
    • B. holmesii: rarely been implicated in causing human respiratory disease.
      • It has been shown to cause outbreaks similar to B. pertussis
      • May cause sepsis in immunocompromised patients.
    • B. trematum: rarely found in wounds and ear infections.
    • B. hinzii: an uncommon cause of sepsis in immunocompromised hosts.
    • B. avium: pathogen identified only in birds.

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Last updated: May 8, 2023