A Norwegian woman aged 24 years old died by rabies after she was bit by a rescue puppy during her vacation in Philippines.
In February 2019, Birgitte Kallestad was on her vacation with her friends in Philippines when she saw a puppy on the side of the road. She, then, put the puppy in her bike basket and took it to her resort where she washed and groomed the dog. Suddenly, the puppy bit her and her friends whlie they were petting it.
Kallestad, who worked as a health worker in Norway, promptly sterilized the dog bites but did not go to see the doctor.
After that she returned to Norway healthily because this disease took time to expose itself. The incubation period for rabies is typically 2–3 months but may vary from 1 week to 1 year, so, Kallestad did not get sick immediately.
One week after her return, the disease started to show a sign as Kallestad got a fever and pain. She, then, went to see doctors who struggled to diagnose the cause behind her illness.
Kallestad went to visit several hospitals till one doctor connected her symtoms with rabies and the test confirmed Kallestad had the disease. She had been admitted to Førde Central Hospital where she worked for a week before she died.
Ths last photo, Kallestad posted on her instagram on April 17.
Her death marked the first rabies-related death in Norway for more than 200 years, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
“Our dear Birgitte loved animals,” Kallestad’s family said. “Our fear is that this will happen to others who have a warm heart like her.”
Before taking the trip to Philippines, Kallestad and her friends were not vaccinated against rabies because the disease is not on the list of required vaccines required for the Philippines.
Her family describing Kallestad as their “sunbeam” wished to change this matter by calling for the rabies vaccine to be included in the program for areas that could have the disease, to prevent others from having the same tragedy.
“If we manage to achieve this, the death of our sunbeam can save others,” the family said.