Girl Survives Rabies Without Life-Saving Vaccination

rabies, vaccination
Rabies could have easily killed a California girl, who realized she had contracted the disease after it was too late for the life-saving vaccine.

The grandmother of Precious Reynolds thought the 8-year-old had a severe flu — and possibly polio — when she brought the California girl to the hospital this spring. The hospital ran many tests and concluded that it wasn’t the flu. The girl had contracted rabies, possibly from a feral cat, weeks before.

Following Centers for Disease Control protocol, Precious Reynolds did not get the series of 4 rabies shots, since doctors couldn’t determine how long ago she had contracted rabies.

Nurses at the pediatric intensive care unit thought there was no way she could survive. But doctors followed the live-saving protocol that was established in 2004, when a Wisconsin girl contracted rabies and was also not treated with the vaccine.

Doctors put Precious Reynolds in a drug-induced coma and then administered anti-viral medication. After two weeks in intensive care, the girl’s immune system was responding strongly enough for her to be moved to the pediatric unit. She’s still there, and everyone expects her to make a full recovery.

Precious Reynolds is only the third case of a person surviving rabies without getting the vaccine.

This is good a time as any to make sure your pets are up to date on their shots, and to also be sure to report stray animals.


Vaccine Information: Required immunizations for kids age 0-6

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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