SAN DIEGO — An outbreak of Bordetella parapertussis occurred in 2014 in Southeastern Minnesota, according to data presented at ASM’s Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) and the International Society of Chemotherapy (ICC) joint meeting held here. 

Bordetella parapertussis, a “cousin” of B. pertussis, can cause a similar disease with the same symptoms, according to the data. 

All children involved in the outbreak were up to date with their pertussis vaccines, the researchers said.

Continue Reading

 “This leads us to believe that the vaccine is not protecting children from the lesser-known species, Bordetella parapertussis,” study author Vytas P. Karalius, MPH, MA, Mayo Medical School, Mayo Clinic said during a media event.

“Our finding is consistent with other research previous to ours. The pertussis vaccine and its efficacy have been under recent scrutiny; it may be beneficial to consider targeting Bordetella parapertussis in the development of future vaccines,” he added.

The cases presented with the symptoms of typical pertussis or whooping cough, indistinguishable from those expected with the better-known bacterium, Bordetella pertussis. 

Interestingly, over the same time period as the outbreak in Southeastern Minnesota, the researchers said they observed a similar increase in the number of cases they diagnosed in their reference laboratory, which tests specimens from across the United States.


1. Karalius VP. Bordetella parapertussis Outbreak in Southeastern Minnesota in 2014. Presented at: ICAAC/ICC 2015; Sept. 17-21, 2015; San Diego.