US approves new treatment for ancient plague

April 27, 2012

Hardly anyone succumbs to the bubonic plague these days, but US health authorities on Friday approved a new treatment for it and other forms of the potentially deadly bacterial infection.

Levaquin, manufactured by New Jersey-based Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of and to reduce the risk of getting it after exposure to Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes the disease.

"Primarily an animal disease, plague can be spread to humans through bites from infected fleas, contact with infected animals or humans, or laboratory exposure," the FDA said.

"Yersinia pestis also is considered a biological threat agent, which could potentially be used as a bioterrorism agent."

The FDA noted that there are just 1,000 to 2,000 cases worldwide of plague each year.

The drug was approved after studies showed it was effective in monkeys because there are not enough cases of plague in humans to conduct a satisfactory clinical trial, the agency said.

The three most common kinds of the disease are bubonic plague, which involves an of the lymph nodes; pneumonic plague, an infection of the lungs; and septicemic plague, which affects the blood.

Other FDA-approved treatments for plague include streptomycin, doxycycline, tetracycline, and other antibacterial drugs in the tetracycline group.

The plague, also known as the "Black Death," spread through Europe in the mid-14th century, killing tens of millions of people.

Explore further: New discovery in battle against plague and bacterial pneumonias

Related Stories

New discovery in battle against plague and bacterial pneumonias

June 27, 2011
Researchers from the Smiley lab at the Trudeau Institute have now identified a single component of the plague causing bacterium that can be used as a vaccine. This single "subunit" could potentially be used to create a safer ...

Recommended for you

In most surgery patients, length of opioid prescription, number of refills spell highest risk for misuse

January 17, 2018
The possible link between physicians' opioid prescription patterns and subsequent abuse has occupied the attention of a nation in the throes of an opioid crisis looking for ways to stem what experts have dubbed an epidemic. ...

Patients receive most opioids at the doctor's office, not the ER

January 16, 2018
Around the country, state legislatures and hospitals have tightened emergency room prescribing guidelines for opioids to curb the addiction epidemic, but a new USC study shows that approach diverts attention from the main ...

FDA bans use of opioid-containing cough meds by kids

January 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Trying to put a dent in the ongoing opioid addiction crisis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday slapped strict new restrictions on the use of opioid-containing cold and cough products by kids.

Taking ibuprofen for long periods found to alter human testicular physiology

January 9, 2018
A team of researchers from Denmark and France has found that taking regular doses of the pain reliever ibuprofen over a long period of time can lead to a disorder in men called compensated hypogonadism. In their paper published ...

Nearly one-third of Canadians have used opioids: study

January 9, 2018
Nearly one in three Canadians (29 percent) have used "some form of opioids" in the past five years, according to data released Tuesday as widespread fentanyl overdoses continue to kill.

Growing opioid epidemic forcing more children into foster care

January 8, 2018
The opioid epidemic has become so severe it's considered a national public health emergency. Addiction to prescription painkillers, such as oxycodone and morphine, has contributed to a dramatic rise in overdose deaths and ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

alex11224
not rated yet Apr 30, 2012
Levaquin and all fluoroquinolones are pure utter poison, they increase fluoride in the body, fluoride is an environmental toxin that can utterly screw up your system. fluoroquinolones have a black box warning in the USA because they have been show to cause irreversible neurological disorders and joint disorders. I took three days of cirpo and it has cost me over $10,000 in medical bills over the last 6 months,. Both of my knees were rendered useless, unable to stand for longer then 15 minutes without being in pain. Through hard work and support from my friends and family have worked to get my knees stronger so I can walk normally again but its been a grueling process that I may never totally realize my true health that I had before taking the cipro. Please avoid any fluoroquinolone, the only reason they are legal is because BIG pharmaceutical companys pay BIG money to lobbyists to get them approved by the FDA

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.