The Virulent Factors of Bordetella Pertusis: The Whooping Cough Essay

The Virulent Factors of Bordetella Pertusis: The Whooping Cough Essay

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Globally, whooping cough continues as an infection of public health concern despite the extensive vaccination and control strategies (Cherry J.D Heininger, 2004). The disease is alarmingly increasing in adolescents and adults, who consequently transmit it to infants. The increase has been attributed to: waning vaccine-induced immunity, increased recognition, changing in circulating strains, improved methods of surveillance and diagnosis of the illness. However, major public health concerns arise from this waning immunity as it is attributed to the increased whooping cough cases in adolescents and adults. Consequently, the adults and adolescents act as reservoirs for transmission to infants (Armirthalingam G, 2013 and Thomas et al., 2000).

In England and Wales, pertussis vaccination has been underway since 1957 with rising and falling trends in disease incidences over the years. But with the introduction of a more potent and less toxic acellular vaccine, the disease trend has changed. This vaccine has been used since in 2001, as a booster in the pre-school age group and has provided major protection in infants who are not eligible for vaccination (Armirthalingam et al., 2012). In addition, the accelerated schedule and high vaccine coverage has further lessened the general prevelance. However in April, 2012, there was a national outbreak majorly seen in adults and adolescents. This has led to new vaccination strategies such as: the temporary vaccination programme for expectant mothers as a way of protecting their unborn babies from the disease (Armirthalingam G, 2013).


Whooping cough is a highly contagious acute respiratory infection caused by an aerobic Gram negative non-sporulating encapsulated coco-bacillus bacterium, Borde...


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...en et al., 1996).




PT is the most important virulent factor expressed by B. pertussis and considered as the major cause of paroxysmal cough . It is linked to systemic infections such as: leukocytosis, hypoglycaemia and inflammatory responses seen in whooping cough patients. To understand the role of this toxin whooping cough infection, a mouse model has been used. It has been discovered that PT utilizes a retrograde transport pathway to the endoplasmic reticulum, gaining entry into the cytoplasm. As a result, it plays a major role in establishment of infection by targeting respiratory tract macrophages. Pt also delays release of neutrophils in early infection which neutrophils are vital in clearance of infection. It is also said to stimulate the production of Th-1 and Th-17 and inhibit the start of adaptive immunity thereby promoting whooping cough infection.

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