Woman who rescued puppy during holiday dies from rabies

Rabies virus 3D illustration. Virus which causes rabies

It is the first rabies-related death of a Norwegian national for 200 years More

Birgitte Kallestad, 24, was traveling with friends in February when she noticed a "little helpless puppy" on the side of the road, her family said in a statement to media. The puppy bit her and her friends as they were playing with it. There, the dog started to bite her, although she did not think the wounds were serious.

Samples sent to the Public Health Authority in Sweden finally confirmed she was suffering from the disease. Kallestad, who works at a Norwegian hospital, cleaned up her own tiny wounds but didn't think she needed any other medical help.

Birgitte died on Monday night, eight days after being admitted to the hospital where she worked.

Under Norwegian law, rabies vaccines are not compulsory.

The others who were on the trip and who were also in contact with the dog have been alerted and Norway's health trust has so far been in contact with 77 people who have been in contact with the Birgitte.

Because no one in Kallestad's travelling party had been inoculated against the disease, they are being vaccinated for rabies.

Filipino children play at a broken fishing boat in Manila Bay in Baseco, Tondo on July 8, 2017.

The disease kills thousands of people every year, mostly in Asia and Africa, where it is prevalent.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the rabies virus is transmitted in the saliva of rabid animals.

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.

A stray dog roams on the streets of Cainta municipality in the Philippines on September 28, 2013.

"As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water)", the CDC states. The rabies diagnosis came three days earlier.

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