Young Woman Dies From Rabies After Playing With Stray Puppy in Philippines

Modesto Morganelli
Mag 12, 2019

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

The group of friends brought it to the resort in which they were staying and bathed, cared for and played with it. One day, while riding mopeds through town, they came across a puppy on the side of the road. The scrapes had been so small that nobody gave them a second thought.

Neither Birgitte nor anyone she was travelling with had been inoculated against the disease, because it is not on the list of vaccines required for the Philippines unless you plan to travel to areas with poor hygiene and sanitation. Later, Kallestad and her friends played with the dog in the garden.

Rabies is transferred from an animal's saliva.

Initial symptoms of rabies include headaches and a fever.

Rabies is a virus that can be transmitted from animals to humans via bites and saliva, and it can prove fatal if not treated early. 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.

She was sick shortly after flying back to Norway, and passes away on Monday at the hospital where she was an employee. Kallestad died on May 6 at the hospital where she worked, about eight days after she was admitted there full time.

Tt can also be prevented through vaccination however Norway's government does not impose a mandatory rabies vaccination on its citizens.

"Our dear Birgitte loved animals", a family spokesperson said, according to the BBC. "Our fear is that this will happen to others who have a warm heart like hers", her family said. "We want this vaccine to be included in the programme for places where it can be rabies and that people become aware of the dangers".

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that while rabies is 100 percent treatable, thousands of people around the world still die from the disease each year. More than 99% of the victims are in Asia, Africa and South America. Dogs are the main cause of rabies-related deaths.

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