Bite kills woman who rescued puppy
An animal lover died after being bitten by a puppy she rescued that was infected with rabies, according to reports.
According to the New York Post, Birgitte Kallestad passed away on Monday - more than two months after taking in the dog she found roaming the streets of the Philippines, the family said in a statement reported by the Daily Mail.
"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 Norwegian was on vacation with her pals and riding mopeds when they came across the pooch.
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.
But soon after returning home, she became sick and was hospitalised several times - as doctors scrambled to figure out what was wrong. She died eight days after being admitted into the hospital where she worked.
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.
This story first appeared in the New York Post and is republished with permission.