Bordetella – Respiratory

Consistent with O. Reg. 671/92 of the French Language Services Act, laboratory testing information on this page is only available in English because it is scientific or technical in nature and is for use only by qualified health care providers and not by members of the public.

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit

Bordetella pertussis

Nasopharyngeal (NP) swab
NP aspirate

Sputum (including induced), Tracheal aspirates also acceptable, but NP swab and NP aspirates preferred


Bordetella pertussis BP collection kit; Kit order# 390052

Submission and Collection Notes


Indicate symptoms and date of onset on the General Test Requisition Form if diagnostic testing is required.

Timing of Specimen Collection

Specimens should be collected during the acute phase of illness.


The PCR transport medium is colourless. NB: Do not use Multi-organism transport medium which is pink.

Storage and Transport

Label the specimen container with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.

Special Instructions

Follow the instructions found in the Bordetella pertussis BP Kit Instruction Sheet. Specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and shipped to PHO laboratory on ice packs. Maximum storage/transit time at 2-8 degrees C is within 5 days of collection.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Bordetella pertussis testing is performed daily Monday to Friday.

Turnaround time is up to 4 days from receipt by PHO laboratory.

Test Methods

Bordetella – respiratory specimens are tested by a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test that detects Bordetella pertussis, Bordetella parapertussis and Bordetella holmesii. The PCR is >99% specific, and more sensitive than routine culture.


Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

Updated 20 July 2020