Bordetella bronchiseptica
Jennifer Kinkead

Bordetella organisms are minute, Gram-negative coccobacilli, which are approximately 0.2-0.5 mm in diameter and 0.5-2.0 mm in length.  They are obligate aerobes, and they respire, not ferment.  Their optimal temperature is body temperature, i.e. 35-37oC, as they are highly contagious mammalian parasites, and/or pathogens, transmitted by intimate exposure to exhaled droplets.  Bordetella invade and multiply among the epithelial cilia of the respiratory tract, and thus cause various respiratory infections or diseases.  There are three main species of this genus:  B. pertussis (causes whooping cough in humans), B. parapertussis (can cause mild pharyngitis), and B. bronchiseptica (causes respiratory infections in animals).

B. bronchiseptica was originally named Bacillus bronchicanis (Ferry 1911), as the organism was originally isolated from dogs.  Once the microbe was isolated from other animals such as pigs, rabbits, and rats, the name was changed (Ferry 1912).  The name ìbronchisepticaî derives from bronchus for the trachea and ìsepticusî for putrefactive, septic.  Thus bronchiseptica literally means with an infected bronchus.

B. bronchiseptica is the only motile species of this genus.  It is peritrichously flagellated.  Miscellaneous facts concerning B. bronchiseptica include: it utilizes all of the amino acids but arginine, lysine, and histidine; its severity is reduced by such antibacterial agents as sulfamethazine and sulfaquinoxalin trimethoprim; it produces a histamine-sensitizing factor; its acute stage is much shorter in duration than its cousin, B. pertussis, and involves coughing, altered glucose metabolism, and other symptoms; and it is primarily a pathogen of laboratory, domestic, and wild animals, seldom infecting humans.


Bordetella.  University of Texas-Houston Medical School, 1995.

Genus Bordetella.  Moreno-Lopez 1952, 178AL.  Margaret Pittman. Bergey's Manual.

*Disclaimer - This report was written by a student participaring in a microbiology course at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. The accuracy of the contents of this report is not guaranteed and it is recommended that you seek additional sources of information to verify the contents.


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