Survival after treatment of rabies with induction of coma

N Engl J Med. 2005 Jun 16;352(24):2508-14. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa050382.


We report the survival of a 15-year-old girl in whom clinical rabies developed one month after she was bitten by a bat. Treatment included induction of coma while a native immune response matured; rabies vaccine was not administered. The patient was treated with ketamine, midazolam, ribavirin, and amantadine. Probable drug-related toxic effects included hemolysis, pancreatitis, acidosis, and hepatotoxicity. Lumbar puncture after eight days showed an increased level of rabies antibody, and sedation was tapered. Paresis and sensory denervation then resolved. The patient was removed from isolation after 31 days and discharged to her home after 76 days. At nearly five months after her initial hospitalization, she was alert and communicative, but with choreoathetosis, dysarthria, and an unsteady gait.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Amantadine / therapeutic use
  • Anesthetics / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Athetosis / etiology
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use
  • Bites and Stings
  • Chiroptera
  • Chorea / etiology
  • Coma / chemically induced*
  • Dysarthria / etiology
  • Female
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / etiology
  • Humans
  • Ketamine / therapeutic use*
  • Midazolam / therapeutic use
  • Rabies / drug therapy*
  • Rabies / therapy
  • Rabies virus / immunology*
  • Ribavirin / therapeutic use


  • Anesthetics
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Ribavirin
  • Ketamine
  • Amantadine
  • Midazolam