Woman dies from rabies after trying to rescue puppy
Woman dies from rabies after trying to rescue puppy
Birgitte Kallestad 24 died after contracting rabies from stray dog she tried to help while in the Philippines her family said
13 May, 2019, 10:29
A TOURIST has died from rabies after picking up a stray puppy in the Philippines and carrying it back to her resort.
Birgitte Kallestad, 24, was traveling with friends in February when she noticed a "little helpless puppy" on the side of the road, her family said in a statement to media.
But within a day of returning to Norway, Kallestad fell ill. After several trips to the emergency room and eventual admission to the hospital, a doctor thought her symptoms looked like rabies, the family said.
The girl's case is the first rabies-related death in Norway for more than 200 years. Doctors could not diagnose her situation for a long time, and Kallestad herself did not consider the minor injuries caused by the dog as linked to her condition.
During their playtime, the puppy reportedly bit Kallestad a few times, which resulted in small scrapes. She died on Monday night, eight days after being admitted to the hospital where she worked.
According to a statement from Kallestad's family, their daughter was with a group of friends on holiday.
A family spokesman said: "Our dear Birgitte loved animals". We fear that this will happen to others as you have a big heart.
Tests returned from the Public Health Authority in Sweden confirming the suspicion of rabies on May 4.
"We are very sympathetic with the family", Sir Feruglio, a Senior Medical Officer at the Institute, told the BBC.
Rabies is treatable, but if left untreated can cause a life-threatening infection of the brain and nervous system in humans.
Norwegians traveling to the Philippines are not compelled to take vaccinations against rabies but after the sad occurrence, the deceased's family have begun to urge that the law should make it compulsory.
Thousands of people die every year from rabies, mostly in Asia and Africa.
It can also be spread by an animal's saliva being in contact with a graze or cut on a human's skin.
Initial symptoms of rabies include a fever and headaches, but as the disease worsens patients can suffer hallucinations, muscle spasms and respiratory failure.
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