Published Date: 2004-11-10 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Rabies, human, bat - USA (WI) (02): partial recovery
Archive Number: 20041110.3040
RABIES, HUMAN, BAT - USA (WISCONSIN) (02) :PARTIAL RECOVERY
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed 10 Nov 2004
From: ProMED-mail <email@example.com>
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tue 9 Nov 2004 [edited]
Rabies victim improving, but long-term effect unknown
While a 15-year-old Fond du Lac girl infected with rabies is showing signs
of improvement, doctors on Monday [8 Nov 2004] stressed that she's far from
recovered. The girl was in grave condition last month [October 2004] at
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa but recently has recognized
her family, responded to commands to move her toes, and is intermittently
alert. But, she remains on a respirator in intensive care.
"Although preliminary indications are that [her] condition will continue to
improve, this is new territory," Rodney E. Willoughby, a pediatric
infectious disease physician at Children's Hospital, said in a statement.
"We are now in a wait-and-see mode. It will be quite some time before we
know what [her] long-term prognosis will be," Willoughby said.
The girl, a student at St. Mary's Springs High School, was bitten by a bat
on 12 Sep 2004, during a church service in Fond du Lac, but didn't seek
immediate treatment. Rabies can be prevented with a vaccine before symptoms
appear. But, it was too late for the girl, who was admitted to the hospital
on 18 Oct 2004. Only 3 people in the world are known to have survived after
the onset of rabies symptoms. Nearly all die within weeks of developing
The last 2 cases of rabies in Wisconsin -- in 2000 and 1959 -- were
acquired from bat bites. Rabies is a virus that infects the brain and
peripheral nerves, causing severe brain disease and paralysis.
[Byline: Meg Jones]
[It is generally considered that, once symptoms develop, rabies virus
infection in humans is invariably fatal. Nonetheless, there are rare
published accounts of partial and near-full recovery of children and
adults: the most recent being "Madhusudana, S.N. et al. 2002. Partial
recovery from rabies in a six-year-old girl. Int J Infect Dis. 6(1):85-6."
We hope that the Wisconsin patient will join this rare band of survivors. -