Norwegian woman dies of rabies after rescuing puppy in Philippines

Maricruz Casares
May 12, 2019

An animal lover died after being bitten by a puppy she rescued that was infected with rabies, according to reports.

Birgitte Kallestad died last week, more than two months after coming in contact with the young dog.

It was the first rabies-related death in Norway in more than 200 years.

Kallestad carried the puppy in her basket and took it back to the resort they were staying at, her family said in a statement, according to the Daily Mail.

"After a while, the puppy started trying to bite them like puppies do". The scrapes had been so small that nobody gave them a second thought.

It was only weeks after Kallestad returned that she began to feel unwell.

Rabies is transferred from an animal's saliva.

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Initial symptoms of the illness include anxiety, headaches and fever. Unfortunately, once a person starts to show symptoms of rabies, there is no effective treatment and the disease is nearly always fatal, according to the CDC. Kallestad died on May 6 at the hospital where she worked, about eight days after she was admitted there full time.

"In the United States, postexposure prophylaxis consists of a regimen of one dose of immune globulin and four doses of rabies vaccine over a 14-day period". However, Norway's Institute of Public Health does recommend the rabies vaccines for certain countries-the Philippines among them.

"Our dear Birgitte loved animals", her family said in a statement.

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

At least 59,000 people worldwide die each year worldwide from the animal-borne disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

More than 99 per cent of victims are concentrated in Asia, Africa and South America. But impoverished or disadvantaged communities with limited access to health care remain vulnerable to contracting rabies through dogs, an issue the WHO hopes to eliminate by 2030.

Rabies in humans is 100% preventable through prompt appropriate medical care.

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