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Bull World Health Organ. 1953;9(5):637-43.

Treatment of bubonic plague with sulfonamides and antibiotics.


To assess the curative value of different drugs in bubonic plague infection, white mice were infected in the laboratory with living Pasteurella pestis, and the treatment with the drug to be tested was begun either 48 or 72 hours after infection, it taking 48-72 hours for the development in mice of septicaemia-the decisive factor in plague infection. Sulfathiazole, sulfapyridine, sulfamerazine, sulfamethazine, sulfadiazine, antiplague serum, penicillin, streptomycin, aureomycin, chloramphenicol, and oxytetracycline were tested. Sulfapyridine and penicillin gave no protection, but the remainder had a curative effect in 50% or more of the animals. The antibiotics, in particular, with the exception of penicillin, protected 90%-100%.Trials were then carried out on humans under controlled conditions in the field-antiplague serum, sulfapyridine, sulfathiazole, sulfamerazine, sulfadiazine, and streptomycin being tested. While there were no statistically significant differences between the results obtained with the various drugs, the clinical effect of streptomycin was striking. In all cases treated with this substance the temperature reverted to normal earlier than with sulfadiazine or sulfamerazine, and in septicaemic cases it became normal in 50 hours, on the average, against 85 hours and 89 hours for sulfadiazine and sulfamerazine respectively.

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