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How Is Bubonic Plague Diagnosed?

Many people wonder, "How is bubonic plague diagnosed?" In order to make a plague diagnosis, the doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about the patient's medical history, exposure to certain animals, and more. A diagnosis of bubonic plague is often confirmed by looking at a sample of blood under a microscope for evidence of plague bacteria.

How Is Bubonic Plague Diagnosed? -- An Overview

Your doctor will ask a number of questions about your medical history in order to make a bubonic plague diagnosis. Some of these questions may be about:
 
  • Medications
  • Medical conditions
  • Recent travel history
  • History of possible exposure to infected rodents, rabbits, or fleas.
     
Before diagnosing bubonic plague, your doctor will also need to perform a physical exam. During the exam, the doctor will look at the skin and listen to the lungs for signs and symptoms of plague. If the doctor has a high suspicion that you have plague, he or she will recommend certain tests.
 

How Is Bubonic Plague Diagnosed? -- Tests

A healthcare provider can make a plague diagnosis by doing laboratory tests on a sample of blood or sputum (saliva and discharge from respiratory passages) or on fluid from a lymph node. Your healthcare provider may find evidence of bubonic plague bacteria (Yersinia pestis) by looking at the sample under a microscope.
 

Diseases Similar to Plague

Because there are several diseases and conditions that share similar plague symptoms, it is important for your doctor to consider these conditions and rule them out before making a plague diagnosis. These conditions include:
 
  • Typhoid fever (a life-threatening illness caused by Salmonella)
  • Cat scratch fever (a disease associated with being scratched by a cat)
  • Hernia
  • Lymphyogranuloma vernereum (a sexually transmitted disease affecting the lymph system)
  • Syphilis (a sexually transmitted disease)
  • Shigellosis (an infectious disease typically caused by unsanitary conditions)
  • Tularemia (a serious illness usually caused by animals)
  • Appendicitis.
     

Bubonic Plague Info

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