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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