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Plague  Lesson 3
 Differential Diagnosis

Primary Pneumonic Plague

  • Incubation Period- 2-4 days with range of 1-6 days.
  • Symptoms-
    • Acute onset of fever, chills, malaise, and myalgias associated with progressive lethargy.
    • A productive cough of copious watery mucoid sputum that may be bloody. Associated chest pain and increasing dyspnea. Hemoptysis is a classic sign that should suggest plague in the appropriate clinical context, but sputum may be watery or purulent.
    • Gastrointestinal symptoms may be prominent with pneumonic plague; these include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
    • A cervical bubo is infrequently present.
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Sputum Smear

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Page last reviewed February 12, 2007
Page last modified September 7, 2004

  • Content source: CDC Emergency Risk Communication Branch (ERCB), Division of Emergency Operations (DEO), National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
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