Plague - Treatment

What treatment did you receive for the plague?

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What is the treatment for the plague? What is the prognosis of the plague?

Currently, plague is treated with antibiotics. The following antibiotics have been used to successfully treat plague if the person's disease has not yet overwhelmed the body's defenses (earlier treatments have a better chance to stop the disease):

  • Streptomycin
  • Gentamicin (Garamycin)
  • Chloramphenicol
  • Tetracyclines (Sumycin)
  • Fluoroquinolones

Patients who are suspected of being exposed to plague should be treated immediately. The antibiotic, route of administration (IV or oral), duration of treatment and supportive care, if necessary, are determined by the patient's caregiver and usually in consultation with CDC or infectious-disease specialists. Plague is rarely seen in the U.S. (about 13 infections are diagnosed per year with one recent year with 40 diagnosed); however, about 14% of people who are diagnosed in the U.S. still die from the disease. The World Health Organization estimates about 2,900 individuals per year are diagnosed with plague currently.

The prognosis of untreated plague is poor. About 50%-90% of infected individuals will die if untreated. Even with appropriate treatment, about 14% of treated patients will still die from the disease. Those patients who recover may have sustained damage to one or more organs such as the lungs.

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