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Merck Animal Health extends commitment to fighting rabies in world’s most at-risk regions

Madison, New Jersey
Friday, September 29, 2017, 16:00 Hrs  [IST]

The midway milestone for World Rabies Day, when the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, together with health organizations from around the world, set a goal of eliminating human rabies transmitted by dogs by 2030. Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada) has announced the continued support in the fight against rabies through the donation of Nobivac rabies vaccine and other resources to the Afya Serengeti Project and Mission Rabies, organizations working to eliminate this disease in the world’s most at-risk regions.

Rabies, a neglected disease of vulnerable populations, is nearly 100 percent fatal but also nearly 100 percent preventable through canine vaccination. Africa and India still bear the highest burden of total annual rabies deaths. Countries with the highest fatalities from rabies are India, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, China and Myanmar.

“Each year, an estimated 60,000 people die from rabies, with 40 percent of those deaths occurring in children under the age of fifteen,” said Ingrid Deuzeman, global marketing director, Merck Animal Health. “We are resolved to continue our collaboration with the Afya Serengeti Project, which we’ve been committed to for more than 15 years, and with Mission Rabies, in support of the global health community goal to eliminate rabies.”

In more than 20 participating countries, when pet owners and veterinarians choose Nobivac vaccines, it allows Merck Animal Health to donate rabies vaccine to Mission Rabies and the Afya Serengeti Project.

“Mission Rabies launched at the end of 2013 and to date we’ve delivered the Nobivac Rabies vaccine to 700,000 street dogs in some of the world’s worst rabies hotspots. Our flagship projects are delivering amazing results with no human rabies cases having been reported in the Indian city of Ranchi, the State of Goa or the city of Blantyre in Malawi so far this year. It’s incredible considering just a few years ago, a hospital in Blantyre (the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital) was reporting the highest incidence of child rabies deaths from any single institution in the whole of Africa,” said Luke Gamble, founder, Mission Rabies. “We are all driven to power Mission Rabies forward and without the support of Merck Animal Health Nobivac Rabies vaccine, we couldn’t do what we do. The vaccine is saving lives amongst some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world and it’s a privilege to be a part of this project with everyone.”

“The human toll of rabies is needless and tragic. However, over the past 20 years, we have shown that vaccination programs can reach enough dogs to eliminate rabies anywhere in the world,” said Professor Sarah Cleaveland, founder, Afya Serengeti Project. “With continued support from Merck Animal Health and other collaborators, I believe we have the vaccine and the tools to achieve zero human deaths from dog rabies by 2030.”

 

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