The Girl Who Survived Rabies

Four years after she nearly died from rabies, Jeanna Giese is being heralded as the first person known to have survived the virus without receiving a preventative vaccine. But Giese (pronounced Gee-See) says she would gladly share that honor with others if only doctors could show that the treatment used to save her could spare other victims as well. “They shouldn’t stop ’till it’s perfected,” said Giese, now 19, during a recent interview about physicians’ quest to refine the technique that may have kept her alive.

Giese’s wish may come true. Another young girl infected with rabies is still alive more than a month after doctors induced a coma to put her symptoms on hold, just as they did with Giese. Yolanda Caicedo, an infectious disease specialist at Hospital Universitario del Valle in Cali, Colombia, who is treating the latest survivor, confirmed reports in the Colombian newspaper El País that the victim is an eight-year-old girl who came down with symptoms in August, about a month after she was bitten by an apparently rabid cat.

Caicedo said that the family had sought treatment for the bite in Bolivar, at a hospital about three hours by foot from their rural home, but that the child, Nelsy Gomez, did not receive the series of vaccines that can prevent the virus from turning into full-blown rabies.

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  • Crystalyn

    I am unable to pull up this documentary at all. It says that there is no video here at all. I think I’d enjoy watching it, can you please fix this problem? Thanks.

    • Forimportantthings

      aw it worked for me. it seems to be from youtube so maybe try to go youtube it !! 🙂

    • Forimportantthings

      aw it worked for me. it seems to be from youtube so maybe try to go youtube it !! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I thought it was just common knowledge that you get vaccinated immediately after any bite from a strange animal…. kinda blaming the parents for this one.

    • Cheyenne H

      “…that you get vaccinated immediately after any bite…”
      Vaccines don’t work that way. You have to get it BEFORE the bite and it has to have time to be processed by your body. Lots of people chose not to get vaccines because they are relatively new and not all the side effects may not yet be known. I got vaccines for serious diseases like rabies, but I’ve never had a flu vaccine, but I never get sick. Some people have died from reactions to vaccines.

      • pleasepickaname

        Yes you are correct, you are supposed to get a vaccine before getting sick, but the rabies virus is one of the only viruses not recognized by our immune systems. Getting the vaccine allows recognition, within 24 hrs after the bite , and your immune system can safely fight it off. All this information is in the video.

  • Guest

    jeanna is very pretty.

  • Darly

    How could it possibly be true that in the US there’s a “close encounter” every two minutes?” The info I have found shows that there are about 10,000 total cases of rabies in animals in the US per year, with less than 1,000 in domestic animals. That math doesn’t work.