News Archive

18 August 2014

Merck Animal Health Develops a New Fish Vaccine Against Most Prevalent Disease Affecting Tilapia

BOXMEER, THE NETHERLANDS, August 18, 2014 – Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the USA and Canada) today introduced a new fish vaccine as a promising measure to help protect tilapia and other fish against the biotype 1 strain of Streptococcus agalactiae, which is the biotype specific to Thailand and other key tilapia-producing regions in Asia, including Malaysia.

“We are pleased to introduce a new fish vaccine to help producers protect their fish from one of the most costly diseases affecting the species,” said Norman Lim, Regional Technical Manager for aquaculture in Asia, Merck Animal Health.  “The vaccine is backed by  Merck Animal Health’s ‘Strep Control: Your Tilapia Health’ program, which provides producers with the support they need to implement an effective vaccination and control program.”

Merck Animal Health conducted extensive sampling of farms in the world’s most important tilapia-producing regions and found that Streptococcus accounted for 70 percent of all pathogens collected, making it the most prevalent disease affecting tilapia. Of the two Streptococcus strains that have been identified, S. agalactiae is the most economically damaging, causing widespread mortality and morbidity in larger fish.

In a laboratory test, fish experienced full onset of immunity one week after vaccination with this vaccine and protection was demonstrated to last for at least 12 weeks.1  In a large-scale field trial in an environment challenged by S. agalactiae biotype 1, the fish vaccine increased survival by 17 percent, increased biomass by 11.2 percent, and improved feed conversion efficiency by nine percent.   Protection was demonstrated for the entire grow-out period.

The fish vaccine provides specific protection against the biotype 1 strain of S. agalactiae, the main cause of Streptococcosis in tilapia in Thailand. Fish vaccinated with the vaccine are safe for human consumption.

As part of the ‘Strep Control: Your Tilapia Health’ program, Merck Animal Health can help producers confirm the strain and biotype present on their farm, implement a surveillance and vaccination program, and train staff on appropriate control strategies. Producers can consult their Merck Animal Health representative or a fish health professional to learn about Merck Animal Health’s ‘Strep Control: Your Tilapia Health’ program and the new fish vaccine.

About Merck Animal Health
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada, is the global animal health business unit of Merck.Through its commitment to the Science of Healthier Animals™, Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest range of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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1 Data on File.