Navigation Links
Untreated Rabies May Not Be Lethal for All, Study Says

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Bucking the notion that untreated rabies always proves lethal to humans, scientists studying the virus in isolated pockets of the world have found evidence that either natural resistance or an immune response may stave off certain death for some.

Traveling to the Peruvian Amazon, where outbreaks of rabies infections are spurred by highly common vampire bats, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention learned that 10 percent of natives appeared to have survived exposure to the virus without any medical intervention. Another 11 percent were found to have antibodies in their blood that would neutralize rabies.

"This is a potential game-changer if the study is repeated successfully," said Dr. Rodney Willoughby Jr., a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and the author of an editorial accompanying the research. "It suggests either that rabies is not universally severe or fatal [HIV used to be thought of this way] or that there are ways of conferring relative resistance to rabies in humans. If the latter could be identified -- these days, probably through genetic sequencing -- then that might afford insights into prevention or treatment."

The study is published Aug. 1 in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

An average of two to four people die in the United States each year of rabies after bites from animals such as bats, dogs or raccoons. Though nearly wiped out in the United States due to domestic animal vaccinations, the infection kills about 55,000 annually in Africa and Asia alone. For those who believe they're infected, a series of shots are 100 percent effective at preventing death.

In Peru, vampire bats regularly seek out meals of mammalian blood from livestock and humans, using extremely sharp teeth and a blood thinner in their saliva aptly known as draculin to feed on sleeping people without awakening them.

CDC researchers interviewed 92 people, 50 of whom reported previous bat bites. Blood samples were taken from 63 participants, with seven found to have rabies virus-neutralizing antibodies. Only one of the seven reported receiving a rabies vaccination, which would generate such antibodies, but no evidence existed that the rest had sought either a vaccination or treatment for a bat bite.

Study author Amy Gilbert, a postdoctoral fellow with the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, said the research suggests the rabies virus is not invariably fatal to people.

"Generally, most folks presume we don't develop antibodies to respond to rabies exposures," she said, "but this was a scenario where clearly there were exposures to the virus that did not lead to disease. I think the same recommendations and advice still hold -- that anyone with a bite exposure to a bat or other carnivore needs to seek out post-exposure [injections]."

In his editorial, Willoughby noted two recent cases in the United States (in Texas and California) where children recovered from rabies without intensive treatment after suspected bat bites.

"Knowing that there is a continuum of disease, even for infectious diseases like rabies, should push us harder to try for cures when confronted by so-called untreatable infectious diseases," he wrote. "Modern therapeutics can move us . . . toward greater survival, even when specific cures or antidotes remain undiscovered."

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers more on rabies.

SOURCES: Amy Gilbert, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Rodney Willoughby Jr., M.D., pediatric infectious disease specialist, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Aug. 1, 2012, American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Untreated Heartburn May Raise Risk for Esophageal Cancer, Study Says
2. High Rates of Untreated Kidney Failure Seen in Elderly
3. Many poor pregnant women with HIV go untreated for depression
4. 1 in 5 Americans Has Untreated Cavities: CDC
5. Passengers on Bat Plane Cleared of Rabies Risk
6. On-the-Job Injuries Can Be Lethal to U.S. Teens
7. Study identifies potential treatment for lethal childhood leukemia
8. High Blood Pressure May Be Especially Lethal for Blacks
9. Wider Waistlines Put Damper on Mens Sex Lives: Study
10. Workers With Paid Sick Days Healthier, More Productive: Study
11. UT Southwestern study suggests new treatment target for deadly brain tumors
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Untreated Rabies May Not Be Lethal for All, Study Says
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... ... Inc., developer and distributor of the world-class Asterisk based contact center software Q-Suite, announces ... new Q-Suite 6 platform is based on the latest Java Enterprise standards. By conforming ... of software for many key components of the suite. Much of the suite runs ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... ... Finnleo, a leader in the traditional and far-infrared sauna industry, announced a ... , For traditional saunas, Finnleo is offering 20% off all Nordic ... uses only European Grade A Nordic White Spruce from sustainably grown trees. Because of ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... , ... Ministers, senior government and UN agencies, representatives from ... Excellence, and public R&D institutions, civil societies and other partners gathered today at ... Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation, ANDI, Stakeholders Meeting. The three- day meeting ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Jacksonville, FL (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 ... ... treatment center, is encouraging people across the country to celebrate their sobriety and ... invites people to post “before and after” photos this Thanksgiving with the hashtag ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... The McHenry County law firm ... appellate decision obtained by Attorneys Francisco J. Botto and Alex C. Wimmer. Attorneys Botto ... Compensation Comm’n, 2015 IL App (2d) 130884WC. , According to court documents, Adcock testified ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 --> ... blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced cancer. ... immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced cancer.   ... immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy for advanced cancer.   ... that immunotherapy can be efficiently combined with photodynamic therapy ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) ... Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in the Japanese ... Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities" report ... --> This new 247-page report ... drug monitoring market, including emerging tests, technologies, instrumentation, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Nov. 26, 2015 Research and Markets ( ... "Advanced Wound Care Market by Type (Dressings, Therapy Devices, ... (In-Patient Facility, Out-Patient Facility), and Geography - Global Forecast ... --> --> The purpose ... and forecast of the global advanced wound care market. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: