Although limited on information, there’s a recent report of a person with rabies in California, with some hope for survival. Rabies was apparently diagnosed in the person on May 6. Incredibly, not only is the woman alive, but she is reported to be in "stable condition" and improving at UC Davis Medical Center. That’s remarkable because rabies is almost always fatal, and death usually occurs fairly quickly by the time rabies is suspected and diagnosed. Rabies survival has been reported but is extremely rare.

While it’s far too early to talk about survival and cure of the woman’s illness, there are many different factors that could be involved in this potentially successful treatment.  These include very rapid administration of anti-rabies treatment, use of the "Milwaukee protocol" (which was the first successful treatment protocol for rabies in a person, which has also failed to be successful numerous times since), pre-existing partial immunity from previous vaccination, and/or the whims of biology and the immune system. Hopefully, this person will continue to improve and more information will be made available about why treatment has been successful so far.

The source of rabies is suspected to have been feral cats, although this is far from certain and it may be that this presumption is based on the lack of other more likely possibilities. While this is an encouraging report, it doesn’t change the fact that rabies almost always kills, and it’s almost 100% preventable with proper post-exposure treatment. People need to be aware of how to avoid rabies and that prompt treatment is needed anytime rabies might have been encountered.