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Norwegian woman dies of rabies after rescuing Filipino puppy

13 May 2019

Brigitte Kallestad traveled in February together with friends and family in the Philippines.

She washed and groomed the puppy.

Globally rabies is most commonly found in dogs and can be transmitted when an infected animal scratches or bites another animal or human.

Birgitte (pictured) was a health worker and patched up and sterilized the cuts herself.

When she returned home, she started to feel sick.

During their playtime, the puppy reportedly bit Kallestad a few times, which resulted in small scrapes. Eventually, she was being admitted full time.

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But it was too late.

Prior to her hospitalization, Kallestad - who was 24 when she died - had made several trips to the emergency room, where doctors were unable to identify her illness.

'Our dear Birgitte loved animals, ' a family spokesperson said. Kallestad, who works at a Norwegian hospital, cleaned up her own tiny wounds but didn't think she needed any other medical help.

"[Rabies] is a disease that's endemic in 150 countries and it's a huge health problem", he said.

It is the first death by rabies in more than 200 years, the BBC reported.

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

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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.

Because no one in Kallestad's travelling party had been inoculated against the disease, they are being vaccinated for rabies.

Under Norwegian law, rabies vaccines are not compulsory. The disease is not on the list of required vaccines required for the Philippines, unless a traveler goes to an area with poor hygienic and sanitary conditions, according to requirements of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Filipino children play at a broken fishing boat in Manila Bay in the Philippines in a file photo.

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.

With rabies are infected, especially wild animals.

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Norwegian woman dies of rabies after rescuing Filipino puppy