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US approves powerful plague drug

US regulators have approved a powerful antibiotic to treat plague, an extremely rare and sometimes-deadly bacterial infection.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved Johnson & Johnson's Levaquin, known generically as levofloxacin, to reduce the risk of people getting plague after exposure to the bacteria that causes it.

Called Yersinia pestis, the bacteria is considered a potential bioterrorism agent.

Plague mainly occurs in animals, but people can get it from bites from infected fleas or contact with infected animals or humans.

About 1,000 to 2,000 human cases occur worldwide each year.

The FDA approved Levaquin for plague after tests on African green monkeys infected with the bacteria in a lab found 94% of the monkeys given Levaquin survived.

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From Belfast Telegraph