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.
- Patients with the plague need immediate treatment withing 24 hours of initial symptom development, or death may be unavoidable. Treatment consists of antibiotics such as streptomycin, chloramphenicol, or tetracycline. Note: Oral tetracycline is usually not prescribed for children until after all the permanent teeth have erupted. It can permanently discolor teeth that are still forming.
- Oxygen, intravenous fluids, and respiratory support are usually also prescribed.
- Patients with pneumonic plague are strictly isolated from other patients. People who have had contact with anyone infected by pneumonic plague are observed closely and are given antibiotics as a preventive measure.