A girl from Thane, Maharashtra, has recovered from what seems to have been a clinically diagnosed case of furious rabies, according to the Mumbai Mirror newspaper.
There have been very few cases that have survived advanced form of rabies, once the symptoms gave set in. The newspaper report quotes Dr. Madhusudana, a Professor of Neurovirology at NIMHANS, stating that there have been five patients who have recovered, albeit with extensive post-rabies sequelae. This patient, however, seems to have recovered without extensive neurological impairment, having only a little visual impairment.
The patient was treated with the Milwaukee Protocol, which was first tried out in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in September 2004, on a 15-year old girl called Jeanna Giese, under the care of Rodney Willoughby, Jr., MD. This protocol involves putting the patient into a chemically induced coma, followed by inundating the patient with antiviral medications (ribavirin). Giese went on to qualify from college in 2011, and recovered without having significant cognitive impairment.
The efficacy of the Milwaukee Protocol is hotly debated as medical specialists believe that some form of immunity develops in all patients, and there is a large likelihood that the infection is with a specially weak form of the virus.
Giese was infected with a bat variant virus, while it is not clearly known how the Thane survivor contracted rabies. Although the clinical signs of furious rabies are clearly mentioned in the news article, there is no mention of a viral isolation or a definitive diagnosis of rabies.