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Tourist dies from rabies after picking up stray dog with pals

13 May 2019

The woman, 24-year-old Birgitte Kallestad, was traveling in the Philippines with friends in February when they found the puppy on the side of the road, according to the Washington Post.

The puppy is believed to have infected her when it bit her while they were playing, according to the BBC.

According to her family, she became sick after returning to her home in Norway. While her family said that she washed and sterilized the scratches, she didn't seek out medical attention afterward.

It had been over 200 years since rabies was last detected in Norway.

"The patient was admitted to our intensive care unit, and died peacefully with the closest family around her", Trine Hunskar Vingsnes, director of health at Helse Forde hospital, told VG.

Birgitte's family are now campaigning for rabies to be included on the program for the Philippines and other places where it is is possible to contract the disease from street animals.

"Our dear Birgitte loved animals", said her family.

Tests returned from the Public Health Authority in Sweden confirming the suspicion of rabies on May 4.

'Our fear is that this will happen to others who have a warm heart like her. "This is a disease that's endemic in 150 countries and it's a huge health problem". More About Rabies Rabies is a viral disease that kills tens of thousands of deaths every year, 95 percent of which are located in Asia and Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

Ms Kallestad's family has now called for a change in the law, which at present does not make rabies vaccinations compulsory for citizens travelling to the Philippines. The rabies virus attacks the brain and nervous system in humans and, if left untreated, it can result in death within a few days of symptoms onset.

It can also be spread by an animal's saliva being in contact with a graze or cut on a human's skin. Early signs of the disease include flu-like symptoms, such as general weakness, fever and headache, followed by more severe symptoms, including anxiety, confusion, hallucinations and insomnia.

Tourist dies from rabies after picking up stray dog with pals