Laboratory confirmation is especially important for the first
cases in a geographic area, as they will lead to treatment and
isolation of additional suspected cases, post- or pre-exposure
prophylaxis of those exposed, and other control measures.
Clinical diagnostic specimens should be collected immediately
when you suspect plague and before antibiotics are administered.
You should make every effort to collect and preserve these
specimens so that live bacteria can be observed for species
confirmation and characterization.
Identification of a live isolate confirms the diagnosis and
permits determination of the agent’s antimicrobial susceptibility
and molecular signature.
PCR, antigen detection, or other non-viable test methods only
provide presumptive identification.