the year of LIVING UNOFFICIALLY

365 days of celebration

28
September

World Rabies Day

Posted by Brittany

Tonight I watched an episode of Extraordinary People (a documentary TV series produced in the UK several years ago) titled “The Girl Who Survived Rabies.” The show outlined the story of Jeanna Giese, the first person ever to have survived symptomatic rabies. The documentary also offered a good overview of the disease, it’s current “treatment” and demographics, and was peppered with interesting interviews from leading doctors in the rabies field. But what really grabbed my attention was Jeanna’s amazing story. Even as Jeanna was on the brink of death, her doctors developed an experimental treatment that put her in a medically induced coma to give her immune system time to fight off the rabies without giving the virus the ability to use her brain to further attack her body. Jeanna was not expected to survive the experiment (her parents had altruistically consented in the hope that something would be learned that could help future victims), but awoke from her coma and started a long road to recovery — a recovery full of challenges like re-learning how to walk and talk. But Jeanna has made amazing strides: since her initial infection seven years ago, she has graduated from college and watched as her historic recovery offered hope to other rabies victims. Since then, the same protocol used in her groundbreaking medical treatment (with slight revisions in two cases) has given a second chance to five more people who contracted the deadly disease.

Tomorrow we’ll fight off the Sandman with the working person’s best friend — a big cup of java. It’s National Coffee Day!

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