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    Plague can be treated successfully if it is caught early; the mortality rate for treated disease is 1–15% but 40–60% in untreated cases. Untreated pneumonic plague is almost always fatal, however, and the chances of survival are very low unless specific antibiotic treatment is started within 15–18 hours after symptoms appear. The presence of plague bacteria in a blood smear is a grave sign and indicates septicemic plague. Septicemic plague has a mortality rate of 40% in treated cases and 100% in untreated cases.

    Source: The Gale Group. Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.";

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