The Journal of Veterinary Medical Science
The baboon model of Bordetella pertussis infection is the newest and most clinically accurate model of the human disease to date. However, among the 15 experimentally infected baboons in this study, a subset of baboons did not exhibit the expected high bacterial colonization levels or increase in white blood cell count. Moreover, cultures of nasopharyngeal wash samples from several baboons suggested B. bronchiseptica coinfection. Analysis of serum antibodies recognizing filamentous hemagglutinin, pertussis toxin and B. pertussis lipo-oligosaccharide indicated that several baboons had likely been previously exposed to Bordetella species and that prior exposure correlated with partial protection from B. pertussis infection. Notably, all animals with a baseline Fha titer of 5 IU/ml or below exhibited symptoms typical of the model, suggesting this value can be used as inclusion criteria for animals prior to study enrollment. While B. pertussis infection is endemic to human populations and B. bronchiseptica is common in wild small mammals, this study illustrates that baboons can readily harbor both organisms. Awareness of Bordetella species that share antigens capable of generating protective immune responses and tracking of prior exposure to those species is required for successful use of the baboon model of pertussis.