Weiss, Alison Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Microbiology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.
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A genus of pathogenic gram-negative bacteria that are coccobacilli and obligate aerobes, and fail to ferment carbohydrates. Bordetella bacteria are respiratory pathogens. Bordetella pertussis, B. parapertussis, and B. bronchiseptica share greater than 90% of their deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequences and would not warrant separate species designations, except that the distinctions are useful for clinical purposes. Bordetella pertussis is an obligate human pathogen and is the causative agent of whooping cough (pertussis). Bordetella parapertussis causes a milder form of disease in humans and also causes respiratory infections in sheep. Bordetella bronchiseptica (see illustration) has the broadest host range, causing disease in many mammalian species, but kennel cough in dogs and atrophic rhinitis in swine (in which infected piglets develop deformed nasal passages) have the biggest economic impact. Bordetella avium is a pathogen of birds. It is more distantly related to the other species and is of major economic importance to the poultry industry. See also: Bacteria; Bacteriology; Kennel cough; Pathogen; Whooping cough
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