Teen Fights for Life After Bat Bite

A Texas teen is fighting for his life, hoping to become the second-known person to recover from rabies without a vaccine.

Doctors suspect Zach Jones, a high school sophomore, was bitten by a rabies-infected bat that flew through his bedroom window more than a month ago.

"He is such a healthy, strong boy, and we all know he's going to get through it," said Demi Ward, Jones' friend. "He doesn't deserve it at all."

The rabies virus is transmitted in an infected animal's bite, but also when its saliva comes in contact with someone's eyes, nose or open wound.

Ten people in the United States have died of rabies since 1998, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Today, Jones is in critical condition, undergoing a unique treatment at Texas Children's Hospital. Doctors are administering the same treatment used on Jeannie Geise, the world's first-known person to survive rabies without getting a vaccine.

Two years ago, doctors treated the 14-year-old Wisconsin native by inducing a coma, and administering powerful anti-viral drugs.

Geise and her family spoke to Diane Sawyer during her recovery.

"This is a miracle of hope and prayer," John Geise, Geise's father, told Sawyer.

Rabies had always been fatal before Geise's case, so Jones' doctors turned to her doctor for advice.

"What we decided to do was induce coma to keep the brain from killing the boy and then allow the immune system to catch up," said Rodney Willoughby, Geise's doctor.

Today, the Geise family is back home in Wisconsin, and is praying for Jones.

"I would say keep believing and never lose hope," Jeannie Geise said.

"You have to keep believing that he's going to be fine," John Geise said. "No negative. Everything has to be positive. That's what got us through it. If somebody asks us what are the chances? You say 100 percent he's going to pull through."

Jones' classmates are undergoing rabies tests to make sure the virus did not spread through a kiss or a shared drink, although doctors doubt that happened. Meanwhile, his parents wait to see whether the miracle cure that worked for Geise will work for their son.

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