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Bat bite 'miracle' girl survives rabies

No vaccination, but prayer prevails

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A US teenage girl has survivied full-blown rabies she contracted from a bat - the first human ever to do so without vaccination, TechNewsWorld reports.

Jeanna Giese was bitten by the infected flying mammal while in church on 12 September. Despite the assault, she did not report to a doctor who would have vaccinated her as a matter of course. Such post-exposure vaccinations against rabies are highly effective if administered quickly. On 18 October, Giese was admitted to the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin with symptoms typical of rabies, including fluctuating consciousness and slurred speech.

Doctors quickly pumped Giese full of a cocktail of four anti-viral agents, and she made an amazing recovery - described by one doctor as a "historic occasion". The sawbones who prescribed the medication, Dr Rodney Willoughby, admitted he did not know which of the drugs had saved the girl and warned against premature excitement over a possible treatment for rabies: "You have to see this therapy repeated successfully in another patient," he said, before adding: "Until then, it is a miracle."

Jeanna Giese's dad would certainly agree with this analysis. He reckons that the power of prayer was the vital life-saving ingredient in the rabies-busting mix: "The day after we found out, I called on everyone we knew for prayer," he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "We believe a lot of that snowballed and it really made a difference." ®

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