If you suspect you have plague, you're likely to start by going to an emergency room. You may eventually need to see a doctor specializing in infectious disease.
What you can do
If you have respiratory symptoms, you may need to wear a surgical mask to your appointment to help prevent spreading the disease to others. You might also want to:
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including when they started.
- Write down key personal information, including whether you've recently traveled to an area where plague is common and whether you've handled wild animals.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- Bring a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information you get during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
For plague, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What tests do I need?
- What is the best course of action?
- Will I need to be in isolation?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions I need to follow?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
March 26, 2013
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have you recently traveled to areas where plague is common?
- Have you recently handled wild animals or cats?
- Are you aware of having been bitten by fleas?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Plague. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/plague/. Accessed Dec. 21, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Dec. 21, 2012.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed Dec. 24, 2012.
- Sun W, et al. Developing live vaccines against Yersinia pestis. Journal of Infection in Developing Countries. 2011;5:614.
- Butler T. Plague into the 21st century. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2009;49:736.
- Amedei A, et al. Role of immune response in Yersinia pestis infection. Journal of Infection in Developing Countries. 2011;5:628.
- FDA approves new antibacterial treatment for plague. FDA news release. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm302220.htm. Accessed Dec. 24, 2012.