Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Surviving Rabies

This video has an incredible tale of surviving rabies...

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

This was a disease with a 0% survival rate. But according to Wikipedia, the above protocol for treatment now means:
In 2005, the first patient was treated with the Milwaukee protocol, and Jeanna Giese became the first person ever recorded to survive rabies without receiving successful post-exposure prophylaxis. An intention to treat analysis has since found that this protocol has a survival rate of about 8%.
There is more detail in Wikipedia about the use of this "Milwaukee Protocol":
Giese's treatment regimen has since undergone revision (the second version omits the use of ribavirin). There were 2 survivors out of 25 patients treated under the first protocol. A further 10 patients have been treated under the revised protocol and there have been a further 2 survivors.

In June 2011, yet another young child survived infection with rabies without the benefit of treatment. An eight year old girl named Precious Reynolds, of Willow Creek, Calif., contracted the disease sometime in April 2011, but she did not receive medical care till mid May, after her grandmother took her to the doctor because of flulike symptoms that grew so serious her grandmother said they began to resemble polio. 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.

Only two other people have survived documented rabies in the United States - a Wisconsin teenager in 2004 (Jeanna Giese), and a Texas girl in 2009.
This is an incredible story. It is truly amazing how our great collective wisdom -- aka science -- slowly gives us tools to go where we have never gone before and abilities that were previously inconceivable. I can't understand why everybody is not a fan of science. I do know that not everybody has what it takes to be a scientist, but I don't understand why people would rather believe in superstitions and old wives tales than support the advance of science. We are in a constant battle with "nature" and only science gives us the possibility to improve on the hand of cards we've been dealt from the deck that life makes available.

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