Merial Joins Alliance to Heighten Understanding, Encourage Rabies Prevention
DULUTH, GA. — August 20, 2008— For its second year, Merial will partner with international rabies experts to acknowledge World Rabies Day on September 28, 2008. A global effort that raises awareness in support of animal and human rabies prevention, World Rabies Day is intended to educate people around the globe about the impact of rabies, how it can be prevented and how to eliminate the sources that contribute to the death of 55,000 humans from rabies worldwide.1
“Merial is excited to be a corporate sponsor of the 2008 World Rabies Day and is proud to offer experience and expertise as a world leader in rabies prevention,” says Dr. Frank Hurtig, DVM, MBA, Director, Merial Veterinary Services. “We want to help protect horses, livestock and their owners from the devastating effects of rabies by providing educational materials, prevention tips and information about rabies to veterinarians and their clients.”
Living in pastures, feedyards or barns, cattle and horses can interact with wild animals — putting them at risk for infection with rabies. Infected animals may show signs of two different forms of rabies, “paralytic” or “furious.”2 Most common in horses is the paralytic or “dumb” rabies,2 signs of which include drooling, depression, anorexia and difficulty swallowing.3 Animals with the furious form may display a lack of coordination, colic and even aggressiveness.3 Once infected, it is possible for cattle and horses to transmit rabies to other animals and people. Because rabies is 100% fatal in livestock and nearly always fatal for humans,3 the best way to prevent it is through vaccination.
Nearly 7,000 cases of rabies were reported in animals in 2006,4 prompting the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) to revise its core vaccination guidelines to add rabies.5 Merial continues to be active in the fight against this disease, administering more than 100 million doses of RABORAL V-RG®, a specialized, safe oral vaccine approved for immunization of raccoons and coyotes. Merial provides more than 400 million doses of IMRAB® rabies vaccine, which is approved for use in six species.6 In fact, 2008 marks 25 years of trusted rabies protection with IMRAB.
In addition to raising awareness about rabies and vaccination as a potential method of prevention, Merial will continue its support of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA). Last year, Merial and SAVMA launched a contest with the winning school to be awarded an on-site rabies symposium, sponsored by Merial, in 2008.
“World Rabies Day gives us an excellent opportunity to do what we do best,” Dr. Hurtig says. “It gives us the opportunity to join with other leading health industry organizations in the common goal of raising awareness about and preventing rabies.”
Other World Rabies Day partners include the Alliance for Rabies Control (ARC), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). For more information about rabies and World Rabies Day, visit www.rabiesawareness.com and www.worldrabiesday.org .
Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs approximately 5,000 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2007 sales were nearly $2.5 billion. Merial Limited is a joint venture between Merck & Co., Inc. and sanofi-aventis. For more information, please see www.merial.com.
®IMRAB and RABORAL V-RG are registered trademarks of Merial. ã2008 Merial Limited. Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. LAGEBIM807 (08/08).
1World Rabies Day Mission. Available at: http://run4rabies.org/EN/World_Rabies_Day_Mission.html. Accessed July 1, 2008.
2Weese JS. A review of equine zoonotic diseases: Risks in veterinary medicine. AAEP Proceedings 2002;48:362-369.
3Marteniuk J. Rabies in horses. Michigan State university College of Veterinary Medicine. Available at: old.cvm.msu.edu/extension/equine/RabiesinHorses.pdf. Accessed June 16, 2008.
4Blanton JD, Hanlon CA, et al. Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2006. JAVMA 2007;231(4):540-556.
5Guidelines for vaccination of horses. American Association of Equine Practitioners. Available at: www.aaep.org/vaccination_guidelines.htm. Accessed July 2, 2008.
6Data on file with Merial.