DULUTH, Ga., Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As World Rabies Day approaches on September 28, Merial is celebrating by commemorating 30 years of rabies prevention through the use of its IMRAB® vaccine, along with numerous other efforts in the fight against rabies worldwide. Rabies is a fatal disease that kills an estimated 70,000 people worldwide annually, with more than 95 percent of cases resulting from bites by infected dogs. The rabies virus is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals, and the disease is completely preventable with proper vaccination protocols and awareness.
"Merial has partnered with veterinarians to protect pets for the last 30 years with our IMRAB vaccine," said Howell "Hal" Little, DVM, director of Field Veterinary Services for Merial. "But we know that the pet that doesn't make it to the veterinarian can't be protected; we have always worked with veterinarians to educate pet owners as well to prevent this disease."
Merial's wide-reaching commitment to rabies awareness and prevention is evidenced through:
- An annual partnership with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control to sponsor the Merial Rabies Symposium. The 2013 event will be hosted by Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine on September 28.
- Partnerships supporting advocacy with leading disease prevention organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Partners for Rabies Prevention.
- Providing injectable rabies vaccines to global agencies such as The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), World Health Organization, and the Pan American Health Organization and other global organizations for use in dog rabies mass vaccination campaigns.
- Participation in the World Health Organization's Expert Consultation on Rabies in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Providing the oral rabies vaccine, RABORAL V-RG®, to government-funded wildlife rabies vaccination programs, whose goal it is to eliminate rabies in specific target species such as the raccoon and coyote in the US.
- Partnering with Sanofi-Pasteur to support in a regional rabies expert bureau in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as ongoing sponsorship of the Rabies in the Americas (RITA) meeting.
"Merial recognizes the worldwide significance of rabies and we strive to educate the public on the importance of prevention through vaccination against this deadly disease," said Joanne Maki, DVM, MS, PhD, global veterinary public health technical director for Merial.
To learn more about IMRAB, please visit, http://imrab.us.merial.com/us_home.shtml.
To learn more about the importance of vaccinating pets against rabies and a variety of preventable diseases, please visit http://www.vaccinateyourpet.net.
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 6,000 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2012 sales were $2.8 billion. For more information, please visit www.merial.com.
Merial is a Sanofi company.
®IMRAB and RABORAL V-RG are registered trademarks of Merial. ©2013 Merial Limited. Duluth, GA. All rights reserved.
 The World Organization for Animal Health. The OIE World Animal Health and Welfare Fund extends its biological risk prevention activities. Available at: http://www.oie.int/en/for-the-media/press-releases/detail/article/the-oie-world-animal-health-and-welfare-fund-extends-its-biological-risk-prevention-activities/. Accessed on August 26, 2013.
 The World Organization for Animal Health. OIE Regional Vaccine Bank for Asia provides 50,000 rabies vaccines to Lao PDR. Available at: http://www.oie.int/en/for-the-media/press-releases/detail/article/oie-regional-vaccine-bank-for-asia-provides-50000-rabies-vaccines-to-lao-pdr/. Accessed on September 4, 2013.