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Veterinary bacteriology: information about important bacteria
Veterinary bacteriology

Species/Subspecies: Bordetella pertussis
Categories: Causes hemolysis; primarily of interest in human medicin
Etymology: Genus name: named after the Belgian microbiologist Jules Bordet (1870-1961), who first isolated B. pertussis.
Species epithet: severe cough (whooping cough).
Significance:  [Very important]   
Type Strain: 18-232 = ATCC 9797 = CCUG 30873 = NCTC 10739
Macromorphology (smell):
Form small pinpoint white shiny colonies (appr. diameter 1 mm), which give hemolysis on blood agar.
Micromorphology: Small non motile coccoid rods (0.2-0.5 x 0.5-1 µm), which appear singly, in pair or more rarely in chains.
Gram +/Gram -:
Metabolism: Aerobic
Other Enzymes: Urease -
Biochemical Tests: Citrate +
Fermentation of carbohydrates: Bordetella spp. does not ferment carbohydrates.
Spec. Char.: Optimal growth temperature: 35-37°C.
HostsDiseaseClinical picture
HumansPertussis, whooping coughRunny nose, sneezing, coughing (whooping cough) and fever. Adults get milder symptoms than children.
Virulence Factors: Filamentous hamagglutinin which anchors the bacteria to cilia. A tracheal cytotoxin, which inhibits the movement of the cilia, is then produced. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which is an endotoxin. Pertussis toxin (PT) which is an AB5-type exotoxin, helps the bacteria to colonize the respiratory tract. PT is secreted by a type IV secretion system.
Genome Sequence:
Acc-noStrainSize (bp)Genome
NC_002929 Tohama 1 4 086 189 1c + 0 

16S rRNA Seq.:
Acc-noStrainNumber of NTOperon
U04950 (T) 1464 

Eight species have been described within genus Bordetella. The four species, which are described in VetBact, are very closely related.
Comment:B. pertussis is easily spread by coughing and the incubations period is 1-2 weeks.


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