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Related terms: Bubonic plague, Pneumonic plague, Septicemic plague

6th-Century Skeletons Shed Light on Deadly Plague Outbreaks

Posted 4 Sep 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 2, 2016 – Ancient skeletons have helped scientists learn more about plague, and the discoveries could prove important in future outbreaks. Centuries before the Black Death in the 1300s, the Justinian plague in the sixth century killed about 50 million people (15 percent of the world's population) across the Byzantine Empire. German scientists have now confirmed that both outbreaks were caused by the same bacterium – Yersinia pestis. They found Y. pestis in sixth-century skeletons from Altenerding, an ancient burial site near Munich, and created the first high-quality genome – the full set of genes – of that strain of Y. pestis. Among other things, the work uncovered 30 new mutations and gene changes unique to the Justinian strain. The discoveries offer new insights about the evolution of Y. pestis since the Justinian plague. The data suggest the strain was genetically ... Read more

Related support groups: Infections, Plague, Plague Prophylaxis

FDA Medwatch Alert: Fluoroquinolone Antibacterial Drugs for Systemic Use: Drug Safety Communication - Warnings Updated Due to Disabling Side Effects

Posted 26 Jul 2016 by Drugs.com

ISSUE: FDA approved changes to the labels of fluoroquinolone antibacterial drugs for systemic use (i.e., taken by mouth or by injection). Includes the following currently available fluoroquinolones: Avelox (moxifloxacin) Cipro (ciprofloxacin) Cipro extended-release (ciprofloxacin extended-release) Factive (gemifloxacin) Levaquin (levofloxacin) Ofloxacin (generic brand) These medicines are associated with disabling and potentially permanent side effects of the tendons, muscles, joints, nerves, and central nervous system that can occur together in the same patient. As a result, FDA revised the Boxed Warning, FDA’s strongest warning, to address these serious safety issues. In addition, FDA updated other parts of the drug label including the Warnings and Precautions and Medication Guide sections. FDA has determined that fluoroquinolones should be reserved for use in patients who have no o ... Read more

Related support groups: Urinary Tract Infection, Bacterial Infection, Sinusitis, Cipro, Bronchitis, Ciprofloxacin, Pneumonia, Levaquin, Levofloxacin, Avelox, Ofloxacin, Moxifloxacin, Gemifloxacin, Floxin, Factive, Cipro XR, Anthrax, Cipro IV, Plague, Floxin IV

FDA Updates Warnings for Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics

Posted 26 Jul 2016 by Drugs.com

July 26, 2016 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved safety labeling changes for a class of antibiotics, called fluoroquinolones, to enhance warnings about their association with disabling and potentially permanent side effects and to limit their use in patients with less serious bacterial infections. “Fluoroquinolones have risks and benefits that should be considered very carefully,” said Edward Cox, M.D., director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “It’s important that both health care providers and patients are aware of both the risks and benefits of fluoroquinolones and make an informed decision about their use.” Fluoroquinolones are antibiotics that kill or stop the growth of bacteria. While these drugs are effective in treating serious bacterial infections, an FDA safety review found that both oral and inj ... Read more

Related support groups: Urinary Tract Infection, Bacterial Infection, Sinusitis, Cipro, Bronchitis, Ciprofloxacin, Pneumonia, Levaquin, Levofloxacin, Avelox, Ofloxacin, Moxifloxacin, Gemifloxacin, Floxin, Factive, Cipro XR, Anthrax, Cipro IV, Plague, Floxin IV

Researchers ID Areas of Western U.S. With Risk of Plague

Posted 31 Dec 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 31, 2015 – Parts of central Colorado, north-central New Mexico and southwestern and northeastern California have the highest risk for human exposure to plague, new research suggests. The scientists said their findings, which are based on cases of plague reported in both wild and domestic animals between 2000 and 2015, could help public health officials better monitor the infection, which can be deadly in humans. In recent years, seven human plague cases have been reported, on average, each year, affecting people of all ages. Half of reported cases involved people between the ages of 12 and 45, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "The findings can be used by public health agencies to target specific areas for enhanced plague surveillance within areas and counties predicted to be at high risk, as well as by other research teams to direct the ... Read more

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Plague May Have Infected Humans Earlier Than Thought

Posted 22 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Oct. 22, 2015 – Plague infected humans thousands of years earlier than previously believed, a new study suggests. Researchers analyzed DNA from the teeth of Bronze Age human remains in Europe and Asia and found signs of plague infections about 4,800 years ago. That is 3,300 years earlier than prior evidence. But it was at least another thousand years before the plague-causing Yersinia pestis bacterium went through genetic changes that enabled it to spread via fleas and to avoid the host immune system, the new study contends. The study was published Oct. 22 in the journal Cell. "We found that the Y. pestis lineage originated and was widespread much earlier than previously thought, and we narrowed the time window as to when it developed," senior author Eske Willerslev of the Center for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, said in a journal news release. "This ... Read more

Related support groups: Infections, Plague

Did One Gene Mutation Launch the Black Death?

Posted 30 Jun 2015 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, June 30, 2015 – One small genetic change may have transformed Yersinia pestis – the plague bacteria – from a relatively mild germ into the deadly bug that killed millions in the Black Death and other historic epidemics, scientists report. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, humans can contract Y. pestis after being bitten by a flea carried by a rodent or by handling the rodent themselves. While antibiotics can effectively treat plague today, an epidemic in the mid-1300s wiped out up to 60 percent of Europe's population, the CDC said. But what made the germ – which can trigger bubonic, pneumonic or septicemic plague – so lethal? To find out, a team led by Wyndham Lathem, an assistant professor in microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, examined ancestral strains of Y. pestis in mice. They ... Read more

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Avelox Approved for Plague

Posted 10 May 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, May 8, 2015 – Avelox (moxifloxacin) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday to treat plague, a rare but deadly bacterial infection that can strike the lungs (pneumonic), blood (septicemic) or lymph nodes (bubonic). Only 1,000 to 2,000 cases are reported worldwide annually, the agency said in a news release. It's spread by the bites of infected fleas, or by contact with infected animals or people. However, the Yersinia pestis bacterium could be released intentionally as a bioterrorism agent. Avelox was approved under rules that allow findings from well-controlled animal studies (in this case, African green monkeys) in instances when it isn't ethical or feasible to conduct trials among humans. The disease is so rare that it wouldn't be possible to conduct adequate trials involving people, the FDA said. Avelox's label carries a boxed warning of the ... Read more

Related support groups: Avelox, Moxifloxacin, Plague, Avelox IV, Plague Prophylaxis

FDA Approves Avelox (moxifloxacin) as Additional Antibacterial Treatment for Plague

Posted 8 May 2015 by Drugs.com

May 8, 2015 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Avelox (moxifloxacin) to treat patients with plague, a rare and potentially fatal bacterial infection. The agency approval for plague includes use of the drug for the treatment of pneumonic plague (infection of the lungs), and septicemic plague (infection of the blood). Avelox is also approved for prevention of plague in adult patients. Plague is extremely rare in most parts of the world, including the United States, with 1,000 to 2,000 cases worldwide each year. The three most common forms of plague are bubonic plague (infection of the lymph nodes), pneumonic plague and septicemic plague. “Today’s approval provides an additional therapy for the treatment of plague,” said Edward Cox, M.D., M.P.H, director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Plague can be spread ... Read more

Related support groups: Avelox, Moxifloxacin, Plague, Avelox IV, Plague Prophylaxis

Colorado Dog Key to U.S. Plague Outbreak, Study Confirms

Posted 30 Apr 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, April 30, 2015 – A Colorado dog last year caused the largest outbreak of pneumonic plague – also called the Black Death – in the United States since 1924, scientists reported Thursday. Four people, including the dog's owner, ended up contracting the rare and potentially deadly infection, Colorado public health officials reported. Their findings were published in the May 1 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The outbreak took place in the rural Eastern Plains of Colorado, and centered around a 2-year-old pit bull terrier. The dog had to be put to sleep in June 2014 after developing a mysterious illness that caused bloody mucous. The pit bull's owner, a friend of the owner, and two veterinary clinic workers developed similar symptoms in the days that followed. All wound up testing positive for Yersinia ... Read more

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New York City Rats Carry Fleas Known to Transmit Plague

Posted 2 Mar 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, March 2, 2015 – Rats in New York City are brimming with fleas and other parasites that can carry a number of diseases, including the plague, a new study reports. Researchers analyzed 6,500 specimens of five well-known species of fleas, lice and mites found on over 130 rats from around the city. The samples included Oriental rat fleas, a type of flea that can transmit bubonic plague, also called the Black Death. However, it's important to note that while the researchers found fleas capable of transmitting plague, they didn't find the bacteria that causes the plague in the fleas or rats. "If these rats carry fleas that could transmit the plague to people, then the pathogen itself is the only piece missing from the transmission cycle," study author Matthew Frye, an urban entomologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., said in a university news release. In the United States, ... Read more

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Plague Rare in U.S., Surfacing in More Affluent Areas

Posted 13 Jun 2012 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 13 – Although the plague is typically considered a remnant of the Middle Ages, when unsanitary conditions and rodent infestations prevailed amid the squalor of poverty, this rare but deadly disease appears to be spreading through wealthier communities in New Mexico, researchers report. Why the plague is popping up in affluent neighborhoods isn't completely clear, the experts added. "Where human plague cases occur is linked to where people live and how people interact with their environment," noted lead researcher Anna Schotthoefer, from the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Wisconsin. "These factors may change over time, necessitating periodic reassessments of the factors that put people at risk." This latest study confirms previous reports that living within or close to the natural environments that support plague is a risk factor for human plague, Schotthoefer ... Read more

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FDA Approves Levaquin as an Antibacterial Treatment for Plague

Posted 30 Apr 2012 by Drugs.com

April 27, 2012 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Levaquin (levofloxacin) to treat patients with plague, a rare and potentially deadly bacterial infection. The agency also approved the drug to reduce the risk of getting plague after exposure to Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes the disease. Plague is extremely rare in most parts of the world, including the United States, with 1,000 to 2,000 cases worldwide each year. The three most common forms of plague are bubonic plague (infection of the lymph nodes), pneumonic plague (infection of the lungs), and septicemic plague (infection of the blood). Primarily an animal disease, plague can be spread to humans through bites from infected fleas, contact with infected animals or humans, or laboratory exposure. Yersinia pestis also is considered a biological threat agent, which could potentially be used as a ... Read more

Related support groups: Levaquin, Levofloxacin, Plague, Plague Prophylaxis

Levaquin Approved to Treat or Prevent Plague

Posted 27 Apr 2012 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, April 27 – Approval of the antibiotic Levaquin (levofloxacin) has been expanded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to include plague, a rare but deadly bacterial infection. The disease is extremely rare in the United States, and only about 1,000 to 2,000 cases occur each year across the globe, the agency said in a news release. The three most common forms of plague include bubonic (affecting the lymph nodes), pneumonic (lungs) and septicemic (blood stream). Animals are most frequently infected, although plague can be spread to people by fleas, contact with infected animals or other people, or by exposure in the laboratory. The bacterium that causes plague, Yersinia pestis, is considered a potential bioterrorism agent, the FDA said. Levaquin was tested under the agency's Animal Efficacy Rule, which allows findings from carefully controlled tests in animals to be applied to ... Read more

Related support groups: Levaquin, Levofloxacin, Plague, Levaquin Leva-Pak, Plague Prophylaxis

U.S. Plague Fatality 'Isolated' Lab Incident, New Report Confirms

Posted 30 Jun 2011 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 29 – In 2009, a 60-year-old American lab researcher was mysteriously, and fatally, infected with the black plague while conducting experiments using a weakened, non-virulent strain of the microbe. Now, a follow-up investigation has confirmed that the researcher died because of a genetic predisposition that made him vulnerable to the hazards of such bacterial contact. The new report appears to set aside fears that the strain of plague in question (known by its scientific name as "Yersinia pestis") had unpredictably mutated into a more lethal one that might have circumvented standard research lab security measures. "This was a very isolated incident," said study co-author Dr. Karen Frank, director of clinical microbiology and immunology laboratories in the department of pathology at the University of Chicago Medical Center. "But the important point is that all levels of ... Read more

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