Bordetella respiratory infections are common in people (B. pertussis) and in animals (B. bronchiseptica). During the last two decades, much has been learned about the virulence determinants, pathogenesis, and immunity of Bordetella. Clinically, the full spectrum of disease due to B. pertussis infection is now understood, and infections in adolescents and adults are recognized as the reservoir for cyclic outbreaks of disease. DTaP vaccines, which are less reactogenic than DTP vaccines, are now in general use in many developed countries, and it is expected that the expansion of their use to adolescents and adults will have a significant impact on reducing pertussis and perhaps decrease the circulation of B. pertussis. Future studies should seek to determine the cause of the unique cough which is associated with Bordetella respiratory infections. It is also hoped that data gathered from molecular Bordetella research will lead to a new generation of DTaP vaccines which provide greater efficacy than is provided by today's vaccines.