NorCal 8-Year-Old Becomes Rare Rabies Survivor

DAVIS (CBS) — “She is truly a fighter.” That’s what doctors are saying about the little Northern California girl who survived rabies without a vaccine, the third person in the U.S. to do so.

Her name, fittingly, is Precious.

Precious Reynolds, 8, of Willow Creek, was treated by pediatricians at the University of California Davis Children’s Hospital in coordination with federal and California health officials.

She contracted the disease in April, most likely from a feral cat outside her elementary school.

Tests in May revealed she had rabies after Precious’s grandmother took her to the doctor because of flu-like symptoms. Her doctors were shocked that they found rabies.

By then it was too late to give her the necessary vaccinations that follow animal bites and keep humans from developing symptoms. Doctors and nurses at the hospital thought her survival chances were slim, when she arrived at the pediatric intensive care unit.

“When we found out it was rabies, we knew it was very critical,” said Dr. Theresa Vlautin, her pediatrician at Children’s Hospital. “The mortality rate is 95 to 98%.”

Doctors indicated that Precious should be released from the hospital and sent home soon. They believe the chance of a relapse is very minimal.

“I was feeling bad,” Precious told Sacramento’s CBS 13. “(But) today, I’m feeling good. I want to go home and play with (my dog) Copper.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBSSan Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)


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