Yersinia pestis: Other Diagnostic Tests to Aid in Preliminary Identification

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Preliminary Identification of the Primary Select Agents of Bioterrorism. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Yersinia pestis: Other Diagnostic Tests to Aid in Preliminary Identification

Yersinia pestis is a dangerous, highly virulent organism that can cause laboratory-acquired infections. It should NOT be manipulated on an open bench.
Catalase:Y. pestis is catalase positive. Catalase testing MUST be performed with extreme caution in a biosafety cabinet (BSC) due to the creation of aerosols.
Oxidase: Negative
Urea: Negative
Indole: Negative
Important note: Y. pestis is often incorrectly identified on automated identification systems. These systems often key out as Acinetobacter, Shigella, or an H2S negative Salmonella. If this organism is suspected, do NOT use an automated system for identification in order to prevent the creation of aerosols and misidentification.