Birgitte Kallestad Died After Contracting Rabies From a Puppy She Rescued While on Holiday

RabiesBirgitte Kallestad, a tourist from Norway, died on May 6, 2019, after she was bit by a stray dog from the streets of the Philippines that she rescued. She was 24 years old.

Kallestad was from Hordaland, two months after the dog bit her.

According to a statement from Kallestad’s family, their daughter was with a group of friends on holiday. They were on mopeds when they saw a puppy which was a stray. Kallestad put the dog in a basket and took the animal to her resort.

Like any pet owner, Kallestad and her friends obtained minor scratches and bites from the play time with the puppy.

Kallestad worked at Forde Central Hospital as a health care worker, cleaned her wounds herself. The family said the cuts were small, and nothing major. Further medical treatment was not thought to have been necessary.

Kallestad went on with her holiday feeling fine. When she returned home, she started to feel sick. She developed a headache and fever, which are rabies symptoms.

Doctors had difficulty diagnosing the illness and did not connect it to the puppy bite. Kallestad did not think that was an option either. There have been no cases of rabies in Norway for over 200 years.

Kallestad was hospitalized multiple times, and her condition declined, and she was re-hospitalized. A doctor finally thought the symptoms were caused by rabies.

Blood samples were sent to Sweden’s Public Health Authority and confirmed.

Kallestad and her friends did not receive a rabies shot before their holiday because it was not required in the Philippines.

Kallestad’s family have started a campaign to get rabies shots onto the list of mandatory vaccinations. They said if they can do this, her death will have meaning.

Written by Barbara Sobel

Sources:

Daily Mail: Norwegian tourist, 24, dies of rabies after she’s bitten by a puppy she rescued while on holiday in the Philippines

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Laura’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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