Treatment of plague


If diagnosed in time, plague is treatable with antibiotics. Treatment of suspected plague cases should start as soon as possible after the laboratory specimens are taken. The drug of choice is streptomycin, but several other antibiotics are also effective.

As soon as a diagnosis of suspected plague is made, the patient should be isolated, and local and state health departments should be notified. Confirmatory laboratory work should be initiated, including blood cultures and examination of lymph node specimens if possible. Drug therapy should begin as soon as possible after the laboratory specimens are taken. The drugs of choice are streptomycin or gentamycin, but a number of other antibiotics are also effective.

Those individuals closely associated with the patient, particularly in cases with pneumonia, should be traced, identified, and evaluated. Contacts of pneumonic plague patients should be placed under observation or given preventive antibiotic therapy, depending on the degree and timing of contact.