A Norwegian woman, Birgitte Kallestad, 24, an animal lover, saw a puppy on the street while on holiday in the Philippines. She took the puppy back to her resort. It’s not clear how the woman suffered the “small scrapes” except that she played with the puppy. She was probably bitten but not seriously, however the puppy had infected her even though she did not know it at the time.
She fell ill after returning home to Norway and died on Monday at the hospital where she worked. After being bitten by the dog the injury was sterilised. At the time, she did not seek further medical attention.
It appears that on her return to Norway the rabies infection was treatable and she visited the hospital’s emergency room several times but the doctors failed to diagnose rabies. As a consequence she died of the infection.
The disease kills thousands of people every year in Asia and Africa mainly. The woman could have had a rabies vaccination but it is not normal to do this. However, Norway’s Institute of Public Health recommends a rabies vaccination if Norwegians plan on visiting certain countries including the Philippines. A mistake was made, therefore.
It is a reminder how dangerous rabies is in certain countries. Clearly great care should be taken by Westerners holidaying in parts of Asia including the Philippines where there are no doubt many stray dogs and cats. They should not be approached by holidaymakers or indeed anybody else for that matter which is sad for the animals and visitors.