She was the only one who survived an infection that kills 99.9% of its victims
Whenever you get a puppy or a kitten to bring home, you never miss out on going to the vet to give them those most needed shots. Pets are always vaccinated from probable illnesses or sickness and one of the most common and never-to-be missed vaccines for pets is the anti-rabies shot.
Rabies is a serious infection that has never been found to have a cure. To this day, rabies has killed 100% of its known victims and continuously kills without immediate medical attention. Once a person gets bitten by an animal, it’s immediate that the person should seek medical attention and get anti-rabies shots— that is within 24 hours of being bitten. Once untreated, it would most certainly lead to the fatal demise of the victim. To this date, there were still no cure found to treat rabies until, Jeanna Giese.
1 Jeanna’s Sunday Mass Routine Meeting with a Bat
It was a typical sunny Sunday for Jeanna Giese. She was with her family that morning when she stepped out of the St. Patrick’s Church. There was a commotion outside of the church when the Giese family came out, they were waving their hands and hats about. A bat was flying over their heads, someone was able to hit the bat and knocked it down on the ground. Jeanne— an animal lover as she was— felt pity for the bat and took it to let it fly off somewhere else. In return for her kindness, however, the bat bit her finger.
Jeanna and her family went home as usual and continued on with her daily activities. Busy with upcoming school events, she forgot about the bat bite. Being a star volleyball player, she kept on going to school and practices seemingly unaffected by the incident.
2 Jeanna’s Symptoms Begin Popping Up Weeks After the Bat Incident
By Halloween, she started to have tingling sensations on her hand. At this point, rabies victims feel this sensation when the virus is beginning to attack nerves making its way towards the spinal cord going to the brain. Rabies victims, like Jeanna, is already experiencing flu-like symptoms by this time.
And by the end of the week, her senses were being severely affected. Her eyesight was getting worse. And her words are beginning to slur. This is when rabies victims’ brains are already targeted by the rabies virus.
Her constant visit to the doctor yielded nothing. When all possible causes of her symptoms were eliminated, Jeanna’s mom, Ann, remembered the bat bite she had a couple weeks back. Upon hearing that Jeanna didn’t get immediate treatment for the bite, he referred her to the Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee. The local doctor feared that Jeanna only had a couple of days left if it really was rabies that’s attacking her body.
3 Jeanna’s Diagnosis is confirmed; she’s a rabies victim
Dr. Rodney Willoughby was horrified when they brought Jeanna in. He immediately sent samples of her spinal fluids to the CDC. Dr. Willoughby, still waiting for the results, started researching on rabies— a virus he is literally in fear of because it is a virus that killed all of its past victims. He was also afraid because he has never encountered the most dangerous virus on earth. The doctor was very persistent in searching for a possible cure, even if it was something that has never been tried and tested. To no avail, he found nothing but the words ‘no cure’ in all medical books and researches.
Rabies is a viral infection that acts as a virus that takes over someone’s mind. It goes to a point where the rabies victim froths up and has involuntary and erratic movements. The rabies victim would undergo temporary insanity and back to their normal selves. The only thing Dr. Willoughby was clear of are the symptoms a rabies victim undergoes but nothing close to a cure. Rabies is a virus that doesn’t damage the brain but hijacks the brain to a point that it blocks the messages of the proper functioning of different bodily organs until the body fails to function and the rabies victim dies.
The results came in and Dr. Willoughby’s fear came true. Jeanna has contracted rabies.
4 Jeanna’s unusual treatment to combat rabies
Jeanna’s family is horrified with this ordeal as well as her doctor. Dr. Willoughby had no options or any form of medical support to even help him with Jeanna’s case. Since Jeanna’s status is leading her to death, he took upon himself to try out a radical medical treatment. He thinks that if there is a possible way to stop rabies from attacking the brain.
He wants to try out a far-fetched medical treatment that has never been tried before in treating rabies. He thinks that if he shuts down the brain’s function, it would stop the rabies from reaching it. It will also buy Jeanna’s body some time to boost its immune system in order to the fight rabies.
5 Jeanna’s Recovery and Other Rabies Victims
On the 10th of October, Dr. Willoughby put Jeanna into an induced coma. Induced coma shouldn’t last for a very long time, but this unorthodox method could go for as long as 10 days for antibodies inside the body to be very active. She and her family waited as she slept for 10 days.
Jeanna finally opened her eyes. She recognized her mom immediately and everybody was hopeful and ecstatic. Rabies disturbed multiple functions of her body including her speech which she had to learn again. She had to learn how to walk again as well. It took her two years to completely recover.
This medical breakthrough was named ‘Milwuakee Protocol’ where it was published online for doctors all over the world to see it. This was the case for Nelsy Gomez Camacho and Marciano Menezes da Silva.
Nelsy Gomez Camacho is an eight-yer-old who was bitten by a rabid ca. since she lived in rural Columbia, treatment was scarce hence sending her on a three-hour foot journey to Hospital Universitario del Valle in Cali where she received treatment and recovered as much as Jeanna Giese did.
Marciano Menezes da Silva was another victim who overcame rabies with the same treatment. He was 15 when a rabid vampire bat in Brazil bit him. Undergoing the same treatment Jeanna and Nelsy had, he was able to recover.