In a world of 'bad news', here is a remarkable medical story about Precious Reynolds of Willow Creek, CA who is but the third patient EVER to recover from clinical rabies in the United States without having received rabies inoculations immediately after being 'infected'.
Read Precious's story here:
From a medical standpoint according to the CDC,
"In May 2011, a girl aged 8 years from a rural county in California was brought to a local emergency department (ED) with a 1-week history of progressive sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and weakness. After she developed flaccid paralysis and encephalitis, rabies was diagnosed based on 1) detection of rabies virus–specific antibodies in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), 2) a compatible clinical syndrome in the patient, and 3) absence of a likely alternative diagnosis."
Health care providers launched an all-out effort to determine exactly what the problem was.
Initially, the patient was treated for dehydration due to a 'presumed viral illness', after which point all avenues were opened for exploration as the patient deteriorated neurologically and immunologically with attendant pulmonary and cardiac problems.
Due to developing 'signs and symptoms', a differential diagnosis was made to rule out both EV (enterovirus) and West Nile Virus (WNV) and ultimately testing results suggested that it would be prudent to test for the rabies virus:
'On May 4, 2011, the California Encephalitis Project at the California Department of Public Health Viral and Rickettsial Disease Laboratory (VRDL) was asked to urgently test for enterovirus (EV) and West Nile virus (WNV). Enterovirus testing was requested because of the well-described cross-reactivity of EV and rhinovirus in molecular testing. PCR assays for EV and rhinovirus performed on respiratory samples showed no RNA for EV, but rhinovirus was detected. Serologic testing for WNV was negative. VRDL suggested testing for rabies, given the compatible clinical syndrome, and subsequently detected immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin M (IgM) rabies virus–specific antibodies in serum by indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) testing."
Finally, with a presumptive diagnosis of rabies, the patient was 'treated' with the understanding that there is, essentially, 'no known cure for a clinical case of rabies infection'. The patient was placed in a 'therapeutic coma' and treated for the various physiological irregularities that manifested themselves in short order, including hypertension and supraventricular tachycardia.
"With a presumptive diagnosis of rabies, the patient was sedated with ketamine and midazolam and started on amantadine and nimodipine to prevent cerebral artery vasospasm, and fludrocortisone and hypertonic saline to maintain her sodium at a level >140 mmol/L. Neither human rabies immunoglobulin nor rabies vaccine was administered."
Thanks to a strong immune system and excellent supportive care, Precious began spontaneous movements as her body started to 'recover' from the viral insult:
"On May 8, the patient moved her head spontaneously. Over the next few days, she moved her head more, then began moving her arms and then her legs. With progressive improvement in her strength, she tolerated extubation on May 16 and was transferred to the pediatric wards 1 week later. On May 31, she was transferred to the rehabilitation service with residual left foot drop. At discharge on June 22, she showed no signs of cognitive impairment and was able to walk and perform activities of daily living."
Precious reports that she believes she got the rabies 'from a cat scratch'. However, to date, this has not yet been scientifically verified, although it bears repeating that all must be careful when around feral animals and wildlife:
"The patient resided in a rural community in Humboldt County, had never traveled outside of California, and had no travel outside the county within 6 months preceding illness onset. She had no history of having received rabies vaccine. The patient confirmed having contact with free-roaming, unvaccinated cats at her school on several occasions. She was scratched by two different cats approximately 9 weeks and 4 weeks before illness onset but reported no bites. Local public health officials implemented a program to collect and identify cats at the school. The first cat was observed to be healthy, but a reliable description of the second cat was not available. All other cats collected at the school remained healthy under observation."
All in all, this remarkable young lady beat all odds in triumphing over the onerous virus which causes 'rabies'. Fortified by modern technology, she conquered what is considered to be a virtually 100% fatal condition, and we can only imagine what Precious and her family and health care providers have been through.
The road ahead will not be an easy one, as Precious continues to heal and rehab after this monumental episode in her life.
Surely, one never wants to be 'written up' in the 'Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report' (MMWR, a branch of the CDC), as this girl has...but if one 'must' be written up, this is the best of all possible outcomes!
Precious Reynolds should know that there are many of us who are 'rooting' for her and for her family and their caregivers.
We will continue to pray that this 'brave fighter', that she make an astonishing, swift and complete recovery!
Thank You Lord For This Wonderful Gift of Healing
With Love in Christ,
Rev. Barbara Sexton
"The Biblical Biochemist-Where Science Meets the Cross"www.DearOnesHealingMinistry.blogspot.com