Tragically 13 year old Maria Fareri died of rabies encephalitis from exposure to a rabid bat in 1995. Perhaps you've heard of the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at the Westchester Medical Center which was later born of the inspiration of Maria herself to make all children healthy and happy.
In 1995 after taking ill Maria was admitted to Westchester Medical Center with acute encephalitis of unknown cause. Most interestingly all initial rabies tests performed on her turned up NEGATIVE for rabies including cerebrospinal fluid, serum, skin, and saliva specimens.
Now let me take you back 5 years ago...my Dad hadn't been feeling well, slight fever, no appetite, tired...thought it was just some sort of a bug until the next day he told me he couldn't remember if he had breakfast! 911 was called immediately and he was taken to the ER where his mental capacity took an even bigger turn for the worse...talking but not making sense. All tests for the obvious such as stroke were negative. My father deteriorated rapidly that day and the next. I asked the doctors who saw him if he could have encephalitis and was told no. One doctor even said, "There's no way it is encephalitis." To make a long story short my beloved father died 2 months later of ... you guessed it...encephalitis. Now there are different types of encephalitis... he died from herpes encephalitis.
My point with these 2 stories is this...I know from personal experience how easily even encephalitis in general can be a missed diagnosis. Imagine how easy it would be to miss a rabies encephalitis diagnosis! Especially when many initial rabies tests of humans will come up falsely negative as was in the tragic case of Maria Fareri.
So here's my question...Are there people in the United States actually dying from undiagnosed rabies?