On May 8th, 2015, the FDA approved the antibiotic, Avelox® (moxifloxacin) to treat those with plague – a rare bacterial infection that is potentiality fatal. The antibiotic is approved to treat both pneumonic plague (infection of the lungs) and septicemic plague (infection in the blood).
Plague infections are extremely rare, even in the United States, totaling 2,000 cases worldwide per year. Plague can be spread from human to human through contact with infected humans or animals, laboratory exposure, or even bites from infected fleas. A plague bacteria, Yersinia pestis is considered to be a treat agent and could be used as a bioterrorism agent.
Avelox®’s common side effects are nausea, diarrhea, headache, and dizziness. The anti-biotic has a Black Box warning in regards to an increased risk of tendonitis and tendon rupture. The Black Box also warns about the worsening of muscle weakness in those with a neuromuscular disorder called myasthenia gravis and also effects on the nervous system. For those with the plague, the benefit of being treated with Avelox® can outweigh the risks.