Implementation and Assessment of the Use of Real-Time PCR in Routine Diagnosis for Bordetella pertussis Detection in Brazil

Background:: Bordetella pertussis is the causative agent of pertussis. In Brazil, laboratory diagnosis of pertussis is based on the culture. In 2010, was standardized the Real-Time PCR TaqMan® in routine diagnosis. Objectives:: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact achieved with the introduction of RT-PCR for the routine diagnosis of pertussis and to compare with the results obtained from culture. Patients and Methods:: 4,697 samples of nasopharyngeal secretions collected from suspected pertussis cases and/or contacts were analyzed for RT-PCR and culture, from January 2008 until the end of December 2011. Results:: According to the results obtained from the samples 6.9% were culture/RT-PCR positive, 14.8% were positive only for RT-PCR and 0.2% only for culture. Negative samples for both techniques was 3,622 (77.1%) and 1.0% were inconclusive for RT-PCR. Conclusions:: The implementation of RT-PCR in routine diagnosis resulted in an increase in laboratory confirmation by almost three times. The RT-PCR assay does not intend to replace the culture technique, but to promote an improvement in the diagnosis of pertussis.