Woman dies of rabies after rescuing puppy

Rabies virus 3D illustration. Virus which causes rabies

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

When Birgitte Kallestad and her friends saw a helpless puppy on the side of the road while travelling in the Philippines last February, they couldn't help but pick it up and take it back to their resort.

After conducting tests, Sweden's Public Health Authorities confirmed on Saturday that Kallestad had rabies.

It's the first death tied to rabies in Norway in more than 200 years, according to the BBC.

There is a vaccine for rabies, but in order to be effective, it must be given before symptoms appear.

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She fell ill soon after returning to Norway, and died on Monday at the hospital where she worked.

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.

A family spokesman said: "Our dear Birgitte loved animals". "Our fear is that this will happen to others who have a warm heart like her".

'If we manage to achieve this, the death of our sunbeam can save others'.

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Birgitte's friends have been alerted and Norway's health trust has spoken to 77 people who were in contact with Birgitte.

Of these, 31 have been vaccinated, according to local media.

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.

Globally rabies is most commonly found in dogs and can be transmitted when an infected animal scratches or bites another animal or human.

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More than 99% of rabies cases in countries where dogs commonly have the disease are the direct result of dog bites. Some victims also have hydrophobia, which is a fear of water. More than 59,000 people worldwide die each year of the disease, which is preventable with a vaccine.

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