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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2002 Aug;8(8):467-78.

Bacillus anthracis and antibacterial agents.

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Aventis Pharma SA, Infectious Disease Group, Romainville, France.


Anthrax is one of the oldest threats to humankind, and remains endemic in animals in many parts of the world. Human cases are infrequent, and some result from biological warfare. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the antibacterial activity of available antibiotics. For potential use in the most severe cases of anthrax, antibacterials need to exhibit potent in vitro activity, intracellular bioactivity, and suitable locations in lymph nodes. In animal models, it has been shown that doxycycline and fluoroquinolones are the most active compounds. There is a lack of data for animal models for macrolides and ketolides, some of them exhibiting good in vitro activity. However, systemic anthrax (inhalation or gastrointestinal) is mainly due to anthrax toxin, and therapy directed against intoxication is needed as basic treatment.

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