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Plague  Lesson 3
 Differential Diagnosis

Septicemic Plague

The endotoxemia and systemic inflammatory response syndrome associated with septicemic plague must be differentiated from any bacterial or viral invasion of the body that can cause septicemic shock.

  • Incubation Period- Occurs when plague bacteria multiply in the blood. Septicemic plague is more common than primary pneumonic plague and is usually associated with hunters skinning infected animals.
  • Symptoms- Acute onset of fever, chills, prostration, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Progression of Disease- Pupura and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) are quite common with plague sepsis. Eventual amputation of fingers, toes, or feet is not uncommon.
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Purpura and DIC on patient chest and side.


Purpura and DIC

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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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