A 24-year old Norwegian woman was on holiday with her friends when they found a stray puppy on a street in the Philippines. Little did she know, the start of this beautiful friendship would be the end of her.
Brigitte Kallestad had a heart for animals, her family said. So when she found the lonely small dog by the streets, she immediately sought into helping the stray animal – no doubts in mind.
However, the puppy must have already infected her when it bit her right after they took it back to their resort, according to a report by BBC news.
Her family said Kallestad fell ill soon after returning to Norway. She had “small scrapes” from the puppy when they played, but rather than seeking medical attention from an expert, Kallestad took it lightly and chose to sterilize it herself.
After a few days, she sought help from emergency hospital rooms several times, but the doctors were unable to diagnose her illness in time. She died on Monday at the hospital she worked at.
“Our dear Birgitte loved animals,” her family said in a statement. “Our fear is that this will happen to others who have a warm heart like her.”
Rabies is a deadly virus that is usually transmitted through a bite from the saliva of infected animals, which can spread to a number of people in just a short period of time.
The Philippines is among the top 10 countries in the world that has the highest incidence of rabies, according to a report by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development.
“We are very sympathetic with the family,” Sir Feruglio, a senior medical officer at the Institute of Public Health, told BBC in an interview. “It’s really important to stress that even if you’ve been vaccinated before your travel, if you do have contact [with a potentially infected animal] you need to go to a local health clinic for a second vaccination.”
This is the first rabies-related death in Norway for more than 200 years.