Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

Specimen Collection

Key Resource

Best Practices for Health Care Professionals on the use of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for Diagnosing Pertussis

Best Practices for Health Care Professionals on the use of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for Diagnosing Pertussis

More

Determining who has pertussis can be difficult. Whenever possible, a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab or aspirate should be obtained from all persons with suspected cases. A properly obtained NP swab or aspirate is essential for optimal results (see Figures 1 & 2).

If culture is planned, once an NP swab has been collected it should be plated directly or placed into transport medium immediately. NP aspirates should be dispensed and plated within 24 hours of collection. The same specimen can be used both for culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). With PCR, the most rapid test, the specimen should ideally be collected during the first three weeks of illness, but may provide accurate results for up to 4 weeks. Culture has better specificity, but takes up to seven days to get results back.

Pertussis Testing Video: Collecting a Nasopharyngeal Swab Clinical Specimen


You need the Flash plugin to view this video.

Running Time: 4:12
Released Date: Feb 2011

This video demonstrates proper techniques for collecting and transporting a pertussis clinical specimen obtained by swabbing the posterior nasopharynx.

en Español

This video is also available on YouTube in English and in Spanish.

 

Pertussis Testing Video: Collecting a Nasopharyngeal Aspirate Clinical Specimen


You need the Flash plugin to view this video.

Running Time: 4:14
Released Date: Feb 2011

This video demonstrates proper techniques for collecting and transporting a pertussis clinical specimen from the posterior nasopharynx obtained by aspiration.

en Español

This video is also available on YouTube in English and in Spanish.

 

Proper technique for obtaining a nasopharyngeal specimen for isolation of Bordetella pertussis

Figure 1

Image showing the proper technique for obtaining a nasopharyngeal specimen for isolation of Bordetella pertussis.

Image: Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, 4th ed, 2008

Figure 2

Image showing the proper technique for obtaining a nasopharyngeal specimen for isolation of Bordetella pertussis.

Image: Courtesy of CDC

 

Top of Page

 

Images and logos on this website which are trademarked/copyrighted or used with permission of the trademark/copyright or logo holder are not in the public domain. These images and logos have been licensed for or used with permission in the materials provided on this website. The materials in the form presented on this website may be used without seeking further permission. Any other use of trademarked/copyrighted images or logos requires permission from the trademark/copyright holder...more

External Web Site Policy This graphic notice means that you are leaving an HHS Web site. For more information, please see the Exit Notification and Disclaimer policy.

 

CDC Commentary: Don’t Give In and Give Those Antibiotics!

Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    (800-232-4636)
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
    Contact CDC-INFO
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
A-Z Index
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #