Twenty-one laboratories from 21 EU/EEA countries participated in the first external quality assurance scheme for Bordetella pertussis PCR by ECDC as part of the EUpert-labnet network.
Of 22 datasets (one laboratory submitted two datasets) all (100%) reported the ‘high’ concentration as positive for B. pertussis and 21/22 also reported the ‘medium’ concentration duplicate samples as B. pertussis positive. Only 15 out of 22 reported the ‘low’ concentration as positive for B. pertussis or Bordetella spp.
Real-time Bordetella PCR assays (both in-house and commercial) demonstrated greater sensitivity than conventional PCR assays as demonstrated by 85% (11/13) of those using qPCR reporting the ‘low’ concentration positive for B. pertussis or Bordetella spp. compared with 57% (4/7) of those using conventional PCR.
Several commercial kits are available for the detection of B. pertussis and/or B. parapertussis; however, care should be taken in the interpretation of the results. An internal process control to check for the presence of PCR inhibitors is recommended to avoid false-negative reporting.
This report presents the results of the first external quality assurance (EQA) scheme for Bordetella pertussis PCR funded by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The EQA study was conducted between February and March 2012.