Children's Health

Girl, 8, Third Person in U.S. to Survive Rabies Without Vaccine

MIAMI - NOVEMBER 03: Marina Spelzini, a registered nurse, measures out an H1N1 vaccine shot at the Miami Dade County Health Department downtown clinic on November 3, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  Unlike other parts of the country which are experiencing long lines and shortages of the vaccine, South Florida is not having this problem. The Miami-Dade County Health Department received 195,000 doses of the vaccine but has only given out about 10,100. Broward County has 52,000 doses on hand and has administered about 10,000 doses.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

MIAMI - NOVEMBER 03: Marina Spelzini, a registered nurse, measures out an H1N1 vaccine shot at the Miami Dade County Health Department downtown clinic on November 3, 2009 in Miami, Florida. Unlike other parts of the country which are experiencing long lines and shortages of the vaccine, South Florida is not having this problem. The Miami-Dade County Health Department received 195,000 doses of the vaccine but has only given out about 10,100. Broward County has 52,000 doses on hand and has administered about 10,000 doses. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)  (Getty Images)

An eight-year-old girl from California has become only the third person in the U.S. to recover from rabies without being given a vaccine, medical authorities said Sunday.

Precious Reynolds, from Willow Creek in Humboldt County, contracted rabies after being scratched or bitten by a feral cat in April, The Sacramento Bee reported.

She was flown to Sacramento's UC Davis Children's Hospital after developing a stomach ache, then losing muscle control and the ability to stand.

Hospital spokeswoman Phyllis Brown said Reynolds had recovered despite not receiving post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), a series of antiviral inoculations.

She was not given the shots because the exact date and nature of her exposure was not known.
Rabies is virtually always fatal without PEP, doctors said.

There are only a few cases of rabies infection in humans reported in the U.S. each year. 

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