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Plague  Lesson 4
 Laboratory Issues - Clinicians

Specimens - Blood

  • Baseline Evaluation.
  • Blood cultures should be obtained for Y. pestis isolation before administration of antibiotics.
  • Convalescent serum
    • At least 14 days apart.
    • Preferably 3 to 4 weeks after onset of symptoms.
    • May not be practical for all patients in a mass casualty setting. Work with your health department on their needs during this time.
  • Plasma and whole blood dried on filter paper are acceptable alternatives to serum.
  • Two or more sequentially collected samples of blood for Y. pestis are preferred. It is usually low in numbers and multiple sampling provides opportunity for a successful recovery of the live organism.
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Drawing blood.

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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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