Laboratory Testing


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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 Bioterrorism Response & Special Pathogens Lab 401-222-5586
Organism Bordetella pertussis
Disease Pertussis
Test Description PCR and culture to detect and confirm B. pertussis

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

Form Required Rhode Island State Health Laboratories 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 HEALTH Bioterrorism Response & Special Pathogens Laboratory are available in all microbiology labs and laboratory send out departments.

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

PCR: Negative for B. pertussis.

Culture: Culture negative for B. pertussis.

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 at HEALTH Laboratories Central Receiving. Kits 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.