Rabies is one of the most fatal diseases with only a few people surviving it without any vaccines. As of now, rabies is curable with a 4-shot vaccine. When it is introduced into the body and is untreated, the virus travels via nerves and the spinal cord to the brain. The virus multiplies rapidly once it reaches the brain, and causes flu-like symptoms which then progress to later stages of furious or paralytic rabies. Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. Globally, domestic dogs are the most common carrier of rabies, but in the United States it is very rare for a dog to carry the virus due to vaccination programs. In the US almost all rabies cases are found in wild animals such as bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. It is very rare for rodents to carry rabies.
The Milwaukee protocol is an experimental treatment for rabies which involves putting the patient into a medically-induced coma, which isolates the brain, allows it to rest, and allows the immune system to fight the virus as the patient is also being given antiviral medications. This treatment was created in 2004 by Dr. Rodney Willoughby of Wisconsin, and first tried on 14-year-old Jeanna Giese, who contracted the disease from a bat bite. She was in the coma for a week, and after being brought out of the coma she had to re-learn how to eat, walk and talk. She still can't run quite normally and has a bit of trouble with balance. Giese is the first reported person to survive rabies unvaccinated. Sometime after the procedure was tried on a man in Thailand who was bitten by a dog, but it failed since his immune system didn't produce antibodies to fight the virus. In 2011 the treatment was tried on 8-year-old Precious Reynolds of California, who contracted rabies most likely from a feral cat by her school that scratched her, and she was in the coma for two weeks, and it worked. Reynolds became the third person in the United States to survive rabies unvaccinated.