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Hospital: Humboldt County girl survives rabies without vaccination

SACRAMENTO — An 8-year-old girl who contracted rabies — likely from a feral cat — is a rare survivor of the infection without having received the life-saving vaccine, hospital officials said Sunday.

Precious Reynolds of Willow Creek in Humboldt County, was treated by pediatricians at the University of California Davis Children's Hospital in coordination with federal and California health officials, the hospital said in a statement.

The hospital said she's the third person in the United States known to have recovered from the virus without having antiviral inoculations immediately after becoming infected. The Associated Press was unable to independently confirm the number, and a message left with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Sunday night was not immediately returned.

She contracted the disease in April but it was not clear exactly when, which was why she did not receive the usual series of shots that follow animal bites and keep humans from developing symptoms, the statement said.

Health officials believe she got it from a feral cat she encountered near her elementary school in rural Humboldt County in northern California, but an infected animal could not be found.

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