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Age-specific long-term course of IgG antibodies to pertussis toxin after symptomatic infection with Bordetella pertussis

  • F. G. A. VERSTEEGH (a1), P. L. J. M. MERTENS (a2), H. E. DE MELKER (a3), J. J. ROORD (a4), J. F. P. SCHELLEKENS (a3) and P. F. M. TEUNIS (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2005

To investigate the possible dependence on age of the rate of decline of IgG antibodies to pertussis toxin (IgG-PT) after natural infection with Bordetella pertussis we measured IgG-PT in follow-up sera of 121 patients (age 0–94 years) obtained after 123 episodes of B. pertussis infection. For analysis we applied a dynamic model for the inactivation of B. pertussis by the immune system. There were no significant differences in rise, peak and decline of IgG-PT between different age groups, although there was a tendency for a more rapid increase, a higher peak and a faster decline with increasing age. The IgG-PT cut-off of 100 U/ml for serodiagnosis of pertussis appeared valid in all age groups. A decline of IgG-PT to <10 U/ml was associated with increased risk of re-infection with B. pertussis.

Corresponding author
Groene Hart Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, PO Box 1098, 2800 BB Gouda, The Netherlands. (Email:
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
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