7 plus species including:


Bordetella avium
Bordetella bronchiseptica
Bordetella parapertussis
Bordetella pertussis


Gram Stain: Negative.
Morphology: Coccobacilli or short rods.
Size: 0.2-0.5 micrometers by 0.5-2.0 micrometers.
Motility: Non-motile or motile.
Capsules: No.
Spores: No.


Bordetella pertussis and Bordetella parapertussis are small, shiny, round and mercury silver in color on Regan-Lowe Agar. With extended incubation, the colonies become whitish-gray. Atypical Bordetella spp. appear large, irregular, rough, pigmented and flat.


Aerobic; respiratory, amino acids are used as carbon sources. Enriched media is needed for culture.



Highly communicable pathogenic, obligatory parasites of man and animals, colonizing the cilia of respiratory epithelial cells.


All species except, Bordetella avium cause respiratory disease in humans.

"Whooping cough" or "pertussis" associated with Bordetella pertussis is the most severe. Whooping cough is generally acquired by the inhalation of droplets containing B. pertussis that have been aerosolized during a cough by a person in the early stages of the disease. B. parapertussis can cause a mild case of whooping cough.

Bordetella bronchiseptica is widespread in animal populations, causing both respiratory and wound infections. Several cases of human infection have been reported, although an excellent review concludes that most isolations from humans are not associated with disease. Bordetellosis in swine, dogs, and laboratory animals inflicts great economic losses. (7)


For culture: Bordetella spp., other than Bordetella pertussis , will grow on Nutrient Agar, BHI Agar and Blood Agar.
For selective isolation: Regan-Lowe ( Bordetella spp.).
For maintenance: Regan-Lowe.
For species other than Bordetella pertussis : Nutrient Agar, BHI Agar, or Blood Agar.


Temperature: 35 degrees C.
Time: 3-5 days.
Atmosphere: Aerobic with increased humidity and/or in a sealed plate (e.g. with shrink seal-MycoSealâ„¢, Cat. no. SS9925).


1. Holt, J.G., et al. 1994. Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology , 9th ed. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD.

2. Holt, J.G., et al. 1986. Bergey's Manual of Systemic Bacteriology , Vol. I & II. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD.

3. The Oxoid Vade-Mecum of Microbiology . 1993. Unipath Ltd., Basingstoke, UK.

4. Murray, P.R., et al. 1995. Manual of Clinical Microbiology , 6th ed. American Society for Microbiology, Washington, D.C.

5. Internet: /Bacterial Database Search, February, 1998.

6. Murray, P.R., et al. 1995. Manual of Clinical Microbiology , 6th ed. American Society for Microbiology, Washington, D.C.

7. Howard, B.J., et al. 1994. Clinical and Pathogenic Microbiology , 2nd ed. Mosby, St. Louis, IL.