Eight-year Old Girl Survives Rabies without Vaccination

Eight-year old Precious Reynolds became just the 6th person in the world to have survived a rabies bite without receiving vaccination. The little girl was scratched on the arms by a feral cat near her school. However, because her symptoms began mildly as a stomachache and only later progressed to paralysis in her throat and pain in her neck and back, she did not receive any rabies shots, which are only effective if administered immediately after exposure. It was not until she was admitted to UC Davis Children’s Hospital that tests confirmed a rabies infection, by which point she had also developed encephalitis. The medical team treated her with a regimen known as the Milwaukee Protocol, which first puts the patient into a medically-induced coma and then administers antiviral drugs. This treatment was responsible for the recovery of all 6 people who survived without vaccination. Rabies is a viral disease transmitted to humans via bites by infected animals, most often dogs, cats, or bats. Prior to 2004, the virus was 100% lethal in humans without vaccination.

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