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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)...

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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