Plague Home > 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 OverviewYour 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:
- 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.
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.
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)
- 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)