SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS13/AP) — An 8-year-old girl who contracted rabies — likely from a feral cat — is a rare survivor of the infection without having received the life-saving vaccine, hospital officials said Sunday.

   Precious Reynolds of Willow Creek, Calif., was treated by pediatricians at the University of California Davis Children’s Hospital in coordination with federal and California health officials, the hospital said in a statement.

 The hospital said she’s the third person in the United States known to have recovered from the virus without having antiviral inoculations immediately after becoming infected, a figure confirmed by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics on rabies cases.

   She contracted the disease in April but it was not clear exactly when, which was why she did not receive the usual series of shots that follow animal bites and keep humans from developing symptoms, the statement said.

   Health officials believe she got it from a feral cat she encountered near her elementary school in rural Humboldt County in northern California, but an infected animal could not be found.

   Tests in early May revealed she had the disease after Precious’s grandmother took her to the doctor because of flu-like symptoms that grew so serious her grandmother said they began to resemble polio.

“She went to the bathroom and her legs went out from under her,” said Shirlee Roby, Precious’ grandmother. “I told my husband this is no flu.  There is something wrong, we’re going back to the emergency room.”

   Nurses at the hospital thought her chances were slim when she arrived at the pediatric intensive care unit.

   “None of us thought she would leave the PICU,” Krystle Realyvasquez, a nurse who cared for Precious, said in the statement. “When she did it was unbelievable.”

   The first such survivor — Jeanna Giese of Wisconsin — contracted the infection when she was bitten by a bat in 2004 when she was 14. Giese graduated from college last month.

   The hospital said doctors followed the protocol first established with Giese. Precious was placed in a drug-induced coma as she received anti-viral medications.

   She spent two weeks in intensive care undergoing the treatments, and immediately showed that her immune system was strong. She was then moved to the hospital’s general pediatric unit, where she remained Sunday.

“I was feeling bad,” Precious said quietly. “I can’t do wrestling because of my leg.”

   “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.”

“Today, I’m feeling good,” said Precious. “I want to go home and play with (my dog) Copper.”

The CDC has more on rabies.

   (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (24)
  1. God's Child says:

    This is truly a miracle. This little girl received the biggest blessing that anyone could hope for.

    1. Wheresyourgodnow! says:

      It’s not a miracle. It’s science. “The hospital said doctors followed the protocol first established with Giese. Precious was placed in a drug-induced coma as she received anti-viral medications.”

      1. thatguyworks says:

        Thank you!

      2. SCIENCEFTW says:

        FOR SCIENCE!

      3. Athie says:

        Really? You couldn’t have the decency to respect that woman’s opinion? What about all the times that scientific methods didn’t save people’s lives in these kinds of situations?

        It is a miracle.

      4. Craig says:

        No, really, it’s not a miracle, it’s science.

        Scientists pioneered a new technique for combatting rabies by inducing a coma in the patient to protect the brain while the body fights off the infection. If you don’t do that, the rabies virus will destroy the brain tissue and kill them.

        It was only discovered a few years ago, and it’s rare that someone is diagnosed with rabies so long after the date of infection, and between the two of those things is why you’re seeing such a small number of survivors mentioned in the article.

        Praise God all you want, but please quit diminishing the work of the doctor who came up with this solution and the others who have since used it by writing it off as the magical hand of god.

  2. Chris says:

    That’s incredibly disrespectful to the doctors, knowledge, and modern technology that saved her life. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  3. Jesuslovesyou says:

    Thank God he gave this girl such a powerful immune system. Without him she wouldn’t be alive anymore.

    1. chui says:

      YES! Thanks to him for giving it to 1 girl and not giving it to other children with congenital immunodeficiencies! And not-thanks to the doctors and to science, with which the girl managed to survive, because she wouldn’t have made it without them, even with her strong immune system.

    2. Gene says:

      Thank god he sent that cat to bite her in the first place! Without him sending that cat, there’d be no reason to thank him!

  4. Bruce St John says:

    Thanks, chui and Wheresyourgodnow!, for showing just how stupid and evil athiests can be. You’ve made athiesm into a religion. Congrats on the stupid.

    1. SpiritualThought says:

      I don’t quite see how they made a religion with their comments. Nor do either seem specifically evil. There is no evidence that any divine intervention was in place here, there is however proof of medical science curing an illness. As for Chui, I don’t see how he is evil for pointing out what he sees as hypocrisy.

      In fact the only ‘evil’ comment I see on here is yours. No one else attacked a poster directly like you did,

      Am I now evil and hateful for trying to examine these comments with a clear mind? Would Jesus want us to insult those we disagree with?

      I am curious what religion you associate with because when you make comments like that it is quite obvious you do not follow the teachings of christ.

    2. Schtolteheim Reinbach III says:

      Your idea of “evil” is people posting dissenting opinions on an internet article?

      … Really?

    3. Amanda says:

      Yeah, I’m kind of amazed at all the posts saying “LOL it’s so stupid to call this a miracle! It’s SCIENCE!”

      Really… it was luck. Sheer luck that this girl had such a strong immune system that it could fight off this infection that should have guaranteed her death with such a delayed treatment. Yes, ultimately, medicine saved her life. But according to medicine, she “shouldn’t” have survived that long. To give SCIENCE! 100% of the credit is not fundamentally that different from giving God 100% of the credit. Whether you want to call it luck or a miracle, something very unexpected and unusual (her immune system staving off a lethal infection) happened here, before science came onto the stage at all.

      For the record, I am an atheist. And most atheists are reasonable people. The ones who run around treating every religious person like an idiot give us all a bad name, and they don’t do a lick of good. They just make religious people more defensive. They’re like militant vegetarians who make people so angry that they go out and buy a big ol’ steak! There are ways to convince people to see your side of things. Leaving patronizing comments calling them stupid isn’t the way…

  5. Schtolteheim Reinbach III says:

    I hope some people take this as a lesson in the value of vaccinating children. This could have very easily become a tragedy.

    1. Doctorb says:

      I completely agree with you that vaccinating children is critical to world health. However, in this case, the rabies vaccine is not one you administer to children — it is one you administer to animals. If a feral cat was indeed the culprit, it was mostly likely born in the wild and would never have had the opportunity to be vaccinated. As for the girl, if she had realized the gravity of her alleged bite then yes, she should have received a rabies shot post-bite. Thankfully the doctors acted as quickly as they were able and the girl will get to live.

  6. sareenag says:

    i hear everyone praising God and praising science, but nobody is praising the power of what’s REALLY important here…how powerful our immune systems can truly be.It’s her immune system that really saved her, along with the assistance of the anti viral drugs of course, can’t completly forget about those.

    And as for the article commenting on why nobody gave a rabies vaccine at the time of the incident, a lot of people don’t know that you can get it from a rabid animal scratch.

  7. Locked&Loaded says:

    I still don’t trust this girl… This has zombie apocalypse written all over it… and not those slow, rambling zombies… These are the fast as hell, no escape, rage zombies… mark my words…

    1. erulz says:

      I would always like to help out with your hosots. Just let me know and maybe I can arrange it. I don\’t know if I would have the patience you have, though. After watching you in action, I know for sure that it\’s a whole lot harder than I imagined. I might panic, or start to cry if the baby wouldn\’t go to sleep and. There\’s a lot of pressure. On second, though?/

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