Analysis of Bordetella pertussis clinical isolates circulating in European countries during the period 1998–2012

M. van Gent*, C. J. Heuvelman, H. G. van der Heide, H. O. Hallander, A. Advani, N. Guiso, C. H. Wirsing von Kőnig, D. F. Vestrheim, T. Dalby, Norman Fry, D. Pierard, L. Detemmerman, J. Zavadilova, K. Fabianova, C. Logan, A. Habington, M. Byrne, A. Lutyńska, E. Mosiej, C. PelazK. Gröndahl-Yli-Hannuksela, A. M. Barkoff, J. Mertsola, A. Economopoulou, Q. He, F. R. Mooi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Despite more than 50 years of vaccination, pertussis is still an endemic disease, with regular epidemic outbreaks. With the exception of Poland, European countries have replaced whole-cell vaccines (WCVs) by acellular vaccines (ACVs) in the 1990s. Worldwide, antigenic divergence in vaccine antigens has been found between vaccine strains and circulating strains. In this work, 466 Bordetella pertussis isolates collected in the period 1998–2012 from 13 European countries were characterised by multi-locus antigen sequence typing (MAST) of the pertussis toxin promoter (ptxP) and of the genes coding for proteins used in the ACVs: pertussis toxin (Ptx), pertactin (Prn), type 2 fimbriae (Fim2) and type 3 fimbriae (Fim3). Isolates were further characterised by fimbrial serotyping, multi-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The results showed a very similar B. pertussis population for 12 countries using ACVs, while Poland, which uses a WCV, was quite distinct, suggesting that ACVs and WCVs select for different B. pertussis populations. This study forms a baseline for future studies on the effect of vaccination programmes on B. pertussis populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-830
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This present study is part of an ECDC-funded network EUpert-labnet with a focus on the laboratory surveillance of whooping cough in Member States/EEA countries (ECDC/2011/013). The EUpertstrain I project was supported by the European Commission Quality of Life Program (QLK2-CT-2001-01819), and the EUpertstrain II and III studies were supported by GlaxoSmithKline (Rixensart, Belgium) and Sanofi Pasteur MSD (Lyon, France). The processing of Czech isolates and the provision of data were supported by research grant NT/14058-3 of the Internal Grant Agency of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic. The processing of Belgian isolates and the provision of data were performed in the frame of the Belgian National Reference Centre for pertussis supported by the Belgian Ministry of Social Affairs through a fund within the Health Insurance System.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, The Author(s).


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