An ELISA that measures anti-PT IgG antibody has been used widely for the serodiagnosis of pertussis; however, the IgG-based ELISA is inadequate for patients during the acute phase of the disease because of the slow response of anti-PT IgG antibodies. To solve this problem, we developed a novel IgM-capture ELISA that measures serum anti-Bordetella pertussisVag8 IgM levels for the accurate and early diagnosis of pertussis. First, we confirmed that Vag8 was highly expressed in all B. pertussis isolates tested (n= 30), but little or none in otherBordetellaspecies, and that DTaP vaccines did not induce anti-Vag8 IgG antibodies in mice (i.e. the antibody level could be unaffected by the vaccination). To determine the immune response to Vag8 inB. pertussisinfection, anti-Vag8 IgM levels were compared between 38 patients (acute phase of pertussis) and 29 healthy individuals using the anti-Vag8 IgM-capture ELISA. The results revealed that the anti-Vag8 IgM levels were significantly higher in the patients compared with the healthy individuals (P< 0.001). ROC analysis also showed that the anti-Vag8 IgM-capture ELISA has higher diagnostic accuracy (AUC, 0.92) than a commercial anti-PT IgG ELISA kit. Moreover, it was shown that anti-Vag8 IgM antibodies were induced earlier than anti-PT IgG antibodies on sequential patients’ sera. These data indicate that our novel anti-Vag8 IgM-capture ELISA is a potentially useful tool for making the accurate and early diagnosis ofB. pertussisinfection.