Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor will first want to rule out other, more common conditions that may be causing your signs and symptoms, such as flu (influenza) or pneumonia. You may have a rapid flu test to quickly diagnose a case of influenza. If other tests are negative, you may have further tests to look specifically for anthrax, such as:

  • Skin testing. A sample of fluid from a suspicious lesion on your skin or a small tissue sample (biopsy) may be tested in a lab for signs of cutaneous anthrax.
  • Blood tests. You may have a small amount of blood drawn that's checked in a lab for anthrax bacteria.
  • Chest X-ray or computerized tomography (CT) scan. Your doctor may request a chest X-ray or CT scan to help diagnose inhalation anthrax.
  • Stool testing. To diagnose gastrointestinal anthrax, your doctor may check a sample of your stool for anthrax bacteria.
  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture). In this test, your doctor inserts a needle into your spinal canal and withdraws a small amount of fluid. A spinal tap is usually done only to confirm a diagnosis of anthrax meningitis.
Jun. 10, 2014

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