DULUTH, Ga., Sept. 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- There's a common misconception that rabid wildlife exists solely in rural parts of the country, far from the hustle and bustle of urban and suburban life. Unfortunately, the existence of rabid animals is likely closer to home than many people realize.
To help raise awareness about rabies and how close potential threats may be for pet owners nationwide, Merial today announced the launch of "Goodnight Rabies," an enhanced section of its existing vaccination website. The section is a national rabies information resource for U.S. pet owners in preparation for World Rabies Day on Sept. 28.
Featuring a highly-localized and interactive heat map that depicts reports of rabid wildlife and domestic animals by county, the "Goodnight Rabies" resource enables pet owners to better understand the risk of rabies infection and the prevalence of rabid animals in urban, suburban and rural communities. In 2014, more than 6,000 rabid animals in the United States and Puerto Rico were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), representing a nearly 3 percent increase from the year prior.1
The most common wildlife transmitters of the virus are raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks; cats, dogs and cattle are the primary domestic animal transmitters.1 Across the globe, rabies claims 60,000 human lives each year.2
"Many assume the most common transmitters of the rabies virus in the United States are only found in rural areas. The truth is, rabies cases are regularly reported in cities and suburbs, too," said Mike Hutton, executive director of U.S. Pets Marketing for Merial. "'Goodnight Rabies' shines a light on the reality and the proximity of potential rabies threats to pets and their owners — no matter where they live. We're encouraging pet owners to say 'goodnight' to rabies by vaccinating their pets against this fatal disease."
Rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease that occurs in more than 150 countries and territories around the world3. All mammals are susceptible to contracting the rabies virus when exposed to an infected animal through a bite or scratch.3 The rapid deterioration of a rabid animal's body includes noticeable changes in temperament, and as the virus progresses, the nervous system is greatly affected, causing death within only a matter of days.4
Vaccination is a critical component of rabies prevention. In fact, most states have adopted mandates requiring vaccination. Dogs and cats that have never been vaccinated that are exposed to a rabid animal may need to be euthanatized or placed in strict isolation for up to six months in accordance with local regulations.5
Merial is the global leader in rabies prevention with a range of vaccines for pets, farm animals and wildlife, including the IMRAB® Rabies vaccines and the PUREVAX® Feline Rabies vaccines. Merial's long history in rabies prevention began with the company's origins tied to Institute Mérieux, which developed the world's first inactivated cell-cultured rabies vaccines. Merial rabies prevention offerings include a full range of rabies vaccines covering six animal species with both oral and injectable technologies, along with technical and service support provided to rabies prevention programs across the globe.
In recognition of World Rabies Day – Sept. 28, 2016 – Merial is encouraging pet owners to ensure their dogs and cats are currently vaccinated against rabies infection. Now through Oct. 28, 2016, Merial is offering one of three prizes to recognize and reward pet owners who have vaccinated their pets within the past year and upload proof of rabies vaccination to GoodnightRabies.com.
To find a veterinarian who uses MERIAL vaccines and other MERIAL products, pet owners can use the Vet Finder feature of GoodnightRabies.com.
About World Rabies Day
Launched in 2007 by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, World Rabies Day is a global health observance to raise awareness about rabies to help increase prevention efforts. The observance has grown every year, with hundreds of thousands of people organizing and participating in local, regional and national events. Learn more at http://rabiesalliance.org/world-rabies-day.
Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products that focus on disease prevention and overall health and wellness in animals. Merial has three main business areas: pets, farm animals and veterinary public health, and its health solutions target more than 200 diseases and conditions across a variety of species. Merial employs 6,900 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide with over €2.5 billion of sales in 2015. Merial is a Sanofi company. For more information, please see www.merial.com; @Merial.
- Monroe BP, Yager P, Blanton J, et al. Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2014. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2016 Spring; 248(7): 777-788. doi: 10.2460/javma.248.7.777
- Human rabies. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/rabies/human/en/. Accessed June 7, 2016.
- Rabies. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs099/en/. Updated March 2016. Accessed June 7, 2016.
- Greene CE, Schultz RD. Rabies and Other Lyssavirus Infections. In: Greene CE, ed. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat. 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:179-197.
- Rabies and your pet. AVMA. https://www.avma.org/public/Health/Pages/rabies.aspx. Accessed August 8, 2016.
®IMRAB and PUREVAX are registered trademarks of Merial. ©2016 Merial, Inc., Duluth, GA. All rights reserved.
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