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Bordetella pertussis Culture and DFA
  • Specimen of choice is a nasopharyngeal swab or aspirate. Ideally the specimen is collected and plated at bedside and transported to the lab as soon as possible.
  • Use a calcium alginate or Dacron swab on a flexible wire handle to collect the specimen.
  • Seat the patient comfortably. Tilt the head back.
  • If available, insert a nasal speculum. Press the swab through the nares until resistance is met due to contact with the nasopharynx.
  • Rotate the swab gently and allow the swab to maintain contact with the nasopharynx for 20-30 seconds or until coughing is induced.
  • Plate directly onto Charcoal Blood agar or place swab into charcoal transport medium. Label with the patient's name and identification number. Transport to the lab at ambient temperature.
  • Repeat the procedure with the second swab if DFA is ordered. Gently roll the swab onto two double-well fluorescent microscope slides. Label both slides with the patient's name, identification number and the date.
  • Transport the slides (placed in a microscope slide mailer) at ambient temperature.

If you have questions about proper specimen collection, please call

NPHL Client Services at 402-559-2440 or toll free at 1-866-290-1406.