In making the diagnosis, a doctor performs certain blood tests such as cultures (growing the bacteria in the lab from samples of blood, sputum, and fluid from the bubo). Cultures require more than 48 hours to produce definitive results.
- A doctor may order an X-ray film of the chest, especially to see if plague has infected the lungs.
- If plague infection is discovered or suspected, an infectious-disease specialist will be contacted for assistance.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may test samples with more sophisticated procedures. Typically, the CDC and the local Department of Health attempt to identify the source of the plague and begin procedures for preventing a potential plague epidemic.
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