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Norwegian woman dies of rabies from puppy she rescued while vacationing in Philippines

Birgitte Kallestad
Pictured, Norwegian woman, Birgitte Kallestad.
Birgitte Kallestad
Pictured, Norwegian woman, Birgitte Kallestad. Image via Facebook.

Norwegian woman, Birgitte Kallestad dies from rabies after sustaining bite wounds from stray puppy dog she saved while vacationing in the Philippines. 

A Norwegian woman who rescued a puppy she came across while vacationing in the Philippines only to be bitten and contract rabies has died- two months after first coming across the stray dog.

Birgitte Kallestad passed away Monday the woman’s family said in a statement reported by the dailymail.

‘Our dear Birgitte loved animals,’ her family said. ‘Our fear is that this will happen to others who have a warm heart like her.’

The 24-year-old animal lover was on vacation with her pals and riding mopeds when they came across the dog.

Kallestad scooped the stray up and placed it in her basket to take back to her resort.

The group bathed and played with the dog — unaware that it was carrying the deadly but treatable viral disease.

The family said everyone sustained minor bites and scratches and that Kallestad, who worked at a hospital in Norway, treated the tiny cuts she sustained.

The cuts were so small that nobody saw the need for further medical supervision, the family said.

It was only after the 24-year-old had returned home to Norway that she began to feel unwell.

Birgitte Kallestad
Birgitte Kallestad

Birgitte Kallestad returned back home only to increasingly get sick as doctors scrambled to find out what was causing her to deteriorate:

Back in Norway, Kallestad was hospitalized several times — as doctors scrambled to figure out what was wrong. She died eight days after being admitted into the hospital where she worked.

Doctors struggled to diagnose the problem and no one, not even Birgitte herself, connected her illness to the dog bite.

After conducting tests, Sweden’s Public Health Authorities confirmed on Saturday that Kallestad had rabies.

It was the first rabies-related death in Norway in more than 200 years. The nation’s health officials have been in touch with 77 people who’ve come in contact with Kallestad, saying 31 have been vaccinated.

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. Signs that the disease has progressed include hallucinations, slight or partial paralysis, anxiety, confusion and fear of water.

Once a person begins to display signs of the disease, survival is rare, the CDC said.

Now, Kallestad’s family is calling on Norway’s government to make rabies vaccinations mandatory for travel to the Philippines.

‘If we can achieve this, the death of our sunbeam can save others,’ the family said.

Birgitte Kallestad
Animal lover, Birgitte Kallestad.