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Plague  Lesson 4
 Laboratory Issues - Clinicians

Pneumonic Plague - Laboratory Testing

  • Specimens should be collected before initiating any therapy.
  • Sputum, blood, and lymph node aspirate should be submitted for Gram stain and culture.
  • Microscopic Findings:
    • Gram-negative rods
    • Wright, Giemsa, or Wayson stains may show bipolar (safety pin) staining.
  • Sera for acute and convalescent antibody detection should be obtained to assist public health authorities in their management of the case, but are not usually helpful in diagnosis due to the length of time for testing.
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Gram negative coco.  Notice safety pin on staining.
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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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