Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If your doctor suspects plague, he or she may look for the Yersinia pestis bacteria in samples taken from your:

  • Buboes. If you have the swollen lymph nodes (buboes) characteristic of bubonic plague, a fluid sample can be taken from them with a needle.
  • Blood. Yersinia pestis bacteria generally are present in your bloodstream only if you have septicemic plague.
  • Lungs. To check for pneumonic plague, your doctor will take sputum or fluid from your airways using endoscopy — a thin, flexible tube inserted through your nose or mouth and down your throat.
Mar. 26, 2013

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