For Kallestad, saving the puppy proved fatal.
Rabies is a virus that can be transmitted from animals to humans via bites and saliva, and it can prove fatal if not treated early. According to the World Health Organization, 99 percent of rabies infections in humans are caused by dog bites.
In a statement given to NRK, government-owned media in Norway, Kallestad’s family explained that she had been back in Norway for a long time before she fell ill. Doctors struggled to solve the mystery of what was wrong. She made several trips to the emergency room and was eventually admitted to a hospital on April 28.
It wasn’t until Thursday when doctors finally figured out she may have rabies, after learning she had been bitten on vacation, Verdens Gang reported.
“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.
Norwegian officials say this is the first case of rabies reported in Norway in 200 years.
“Our dear Birgitte loved animals. Our fear is that this will happen to others who have a warm heart like her,” the family statement said. They called for a rabies vaccine to be added to a list of inoculations for people traveling to the Philippines.