Woman Dies from Rabies After Rescuing Puppy While on Vacation

Birgitte Kallestad

STRICKEN Birgitte Kallestad didn't feel ill until she got back to Norway

In February, while on holiday with friends, Birgitte Kallestad found a "helpless" puppy on the side of the road during a scooter ride.

The puppy is believed to have infected her when it bit her while they were playing, according to the BBC. When the dog began biting her, she paid no notice. By that time, some time had passed since her Philippines trip, and doctors had trouble diagnosing her illness.

'Our fear is that this will happen to others who have a warm heart like her.

Birgitte's family said everyone sustained minor bites and scratches from the dog during this time - as most puppy owners do. She died eight days after being admitted into the hospital where she worked. "This is a disease that's endemic in 150 countries and it's a huge health problem".

It had been over 200 years since rabies was last detected in Norway.

"It's a terribly heavy case and a strain for the family", infectious disease consultant Jens Eikås told VG.

Birgitte's friends have been alerted and Norway's health trust has spoken to 77 people who were in contact with Birgitte.

Although Rabies vaccines are not required under Norwegian law, the country's Institute of Public Health recommends them for those traveling to several countries where travelers have a high-risk of contracting rabies, including the Philippines, the BBC reported.

Filipino children play at a broken fishing boat in Manila Bay in Baseco, Tondo on July 8, 2017.

Rabies, which infects the central nervous system, initially causes symptoms similar to the flu, such as fever, headache and general discomfort, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It can also be spread by an animal's saliva being in contact with a graze or cut on a human's skin.

The disease is mostly prevalent in Asia and Africa and kills thousands of people every year.

A stray dog roams on the streets of Cainta municipality in the Philippines on September 28, 2013. The rabies diagnosis came three days earlier.

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