Woman rescues stray puppy, dies of rabies

Henrietta Brewer
May 13, 2019

Norwegian Birgitte Kallestad, 24, died on Monday night more than two months after coming into contact with the dog while travelling with friends.

Birgitte Kallestad, 24, was on holiday with friends when they found the puppy on a street, her family said in a statement.

She washed and groomed the puppy. According to her family, doctors couldn't initially determine what was the cause of her illness, despite several trips to the emergency room. She patched up and sterilized the wounds herself.

However, she gave up the ghost as doctors tried to treat her at the hospital where she had been working before she traveled. She had been admitted for a week before she died.

Of these, 31 have been vaccinated, according to local media.

But it was too late. She died on Monday night, eight days after being admitted to the hospital where she worked.

Her family said: 'Our dear Birgitte loved animals. We fear that this will happen to others as you have a big heart.

"We are very sympathetic with the family", Sir Feruglio, a Senior Medical Officer at the Institute, told the BBC. "This is a disease that's endemic in 150 countries and it's a huge health problem".

There have been no cases of rabies in Norway for over 200 years.

Birgitte's friends who were on the trip and who were also in contact with the dog have been alerted and Norway's health trust has so far been in contact with 77 people who have been in contact with Birgitte.

Kallestad's family is now urging Norwegian authorities to include the rabies vaccine in the inoculation programme for the Philippines and other places where rabies can be contracted from animals.

Under Norwegian law, rabies vaccines are not compulsory.

No-one from Norway's public health body was immediately available for comment.

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

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

"The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death". (AFP/Getty Images) A stray dog in a file photo.

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