Professor treats monkey bite for woman overseas

RENO, Nevada -- A professor potentially saved the life of a Reno woman bitten by a wild monkey during her overseas trip.

Dr. Steven Zell, professor of medicine at the University of Nevada-Reno, coordinated medical treatment while being half a world away.

These seemingly harmless little guys may be adorable to some, but Lisa Leiden learned the hard way.

Leiden was capturing this monkey's playful nature on camera during her South African vacation when one of them went rogue, latched onto her leg and bit her.

Zell, also a certified travel medicine consultant specialist, says that since the attack was unprovoked, one has to assume the animal was rabid.

He told Leiden to clean the wound thoroughly with soap, a profuse amount of water and alcohol, right away.

Then, he immediately looked through his global directory of doctors.

"I found an excellent clinic for her in Johannesburg, South Africa. They had in stock the rabies immune globulin which is really difficult to get," Zell told KTVN.

Rabies can take weeks to fully incubate, which allows up to a week for proper treatment.

"If you don't treat rabies, it becomes a fatal disease," Zell said.

Luckily, within three days, Leiden had received seven milliliters of the rabies immune globulin and started a series of four shots of rabavert, a rabies vaccine.

Ending her trip with potentially lifesaving medical treatment, she later received the last three shots in Reno.

"We assume that she did not acquire rabies clinically, and even if the organism did bite her and inject the rabies virus, she got appropriate treatment very quickly," Zell said.

Dr. Zell stresses the importance for anyone who is traveling internationally, especially to areas with high instances of the virus, to take preventative measures.