Clinical Laboratory Guide to Services - Minnesota Dept. of Health

The Clinical Guide to Services is a comprehensive reference guide of testing services, shipping information and submission requirements. Efforts have been made to be concise and current with all information, but as testing procedures and regulations change, some information may not be current. Many of these tests are only available with prior approval from MDH. It is impossible to address all situations in this guide, so please contact us with any questions.

Specimen Requirements for Yersinia pestis

Back to Agent: Yersinia pestis

Type of Infection
Specimen type
Minimum Volume
Collection Comments
Bubonic Plague Lymph node (bubo) aspirate 2 ml  
Septicemic Plague Blood culture Refer to manufacturer's recommendation A series of 3 venipuncture specimens taken 15-30 minutes apart is most effective. Collect prior to antibiotic use if possible.
Blood in sodium polyanethol sulfonate (SPS) 8 ml Blood collected in SPS may be inoculated into blood culture bottles upon receipt at MDH.
Pneumonic Plague Sputum 1 ml "Bloody" sputum is a hallmark of this disease.
Tracheal aspirates, bronchoalveolar wash, etc. 1 ml Bronchial or tracheal aspirates are the specimens of choice.
Nasal/Throat swab 1 swab For epidemiologic purposes only. Useful only within 24 hours of exposure.
Misc/Other Whole blood 1 ml Collect in EDTA, purple top tube. For molecular testing, must be pre-approved by MDH.
Serum/plasma 2 ml Acute-phase specimen should be collected ASAP after onset of disease.
Convalescent-phase specimen should be collected >14 days after the acute specimen.
Sent to CDC for testing, must be pre-approved by MDH.
Postmortem Lymph and lung tissue, bone-marrow 1-5 g

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