An 8-year-old Sacramento girl is just the third U.S. person ever known to have survived rabies without getting the arduous vaccine.
Precious Reynolds apparently contracted the often deadly disease from a feral cat in April. She didn't get the usual battery of shots, but then developed flu-like symptoms a month later, prompting her grandmother to take her to the hospital. Officials at University of California Davis Children's Hospital were pessimistic that she would survive.
"None of us thought she would leave the PICU," Krystle Realyvasquez, a nurse who cared for Precious, said. "When she did it was unbelievable."
The first known person to survive a rabies infection without getting a vaccine immediately after exposure was Jeana Giese, of Wisconsin. She was 14 in 2004 when she was bitten by a bat. Precious, like Giese, was placed in a drug-induced coma and given anti-vial medication.
She was in intensive care for two weeks, and is now in the general pediatric care unit.
"From the very beginning, Precious had a very rapid, robust immune response to her infection, which is a significant contributor to why she survived," Dr. Jean Wiedeman, leader of the pediatric team, said in the statement. "She is truly a fighter."