Lack of cross-protection against Bordetella holmesii after pertussis vaccination

Xuqing Zhang, Laura S. Weyrich, Jennie S. Lavine, Alexia T. Karanikas, Eric T. Harvill

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27 Scopus citations


Bordetella holmesii, a species closely related to B. pertussis, has been reported sporadically as a cause of whooping cough-like symptoms. To investigate whether B. pertussis- induced immunity is protective against infection with B. holmesii, we conducted an analysis using 11 human respiratory B. holmesii isolates collected during 2005-2009 from a highly B. pertussis-vaccinated population in Massachusetts. Neither whole-cell (wP) nor acellular (aP) B. pertussis vaccination conferred protection against these B. holmesii isolates in mice. Although T-cell responses induced by wP or aP cross-reacted with B. holmesii, vaccine-induced antibodies failed to efficiently bind B. holmesii. B. holmesii-specific antibodies provided in addition to wP were sufficient to rapidly reduce B. holmesii numbers in mouse lungs. Our findings suggest the established presence of B. holmesii in Massachusetts and that failure to induce cross-reactive antibodies may explain poor vaccine-induced cross-protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1771-1779
Number of pages9
JournalEmerging infectious diseases
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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