Merck Animal Health and Pet Owners Work Together to Help Free the World of Rabies

September 28th is World Rabies Day

SUMMIT, N.J., September 26, 2014 – Rabies is a debilitating and deadly problem that affects people and their animals all over the world. In an effort to reduce human fatalities and free the world of rabies, Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the USA and Canada) is proud to support organizations that work to fight rabies through the Afya Project.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 55,000 people worldwide die of rabies every year, mostly in Asia and Africa. Through the Afya Project, Merck Animal Health has donated more than 1 million doses of NOBIVAC Rabies vaccines to some of the most at-risk regions in the world and is donating an additional 300,000 doses this year. The program runs in more than 20 developed countries, where participating veterinarians and pet owners who chose Merck Animal Health’s NOBIVAC Rabies vaccine, have their usage matched by a company donation of rabies vaccine.

“Through the Afya project, Merck Animal Health is able to expand our reach and support more organizations that work to fight rabies, such as Afya Serengeti and Mission Rabies,” states Karin Jager, Merck Animal Health. “The Afya Project also helps us to gain scientific data to better understand the spread of rabies and learn how to eradicate the disease and save countless lives.”

Afya Serengeti Expands Service Area
Afya Serengeti, founded as a university-based research project by Professor Sarah Cleaveland in 1997, has prevented thousands of cases of rabies around the Serengeti National Park in Africa.

Since the start of the program, deaths attributed to rabies have been reduced by 86 percent in vaccinated areas and since 2006, no rabies deaths have been reported in any of the vaccinated villages in the Park.

Great success in the Serengeti and the desire to eradicate rabies forever has propelled Afya Serengeti to expand its service area to Kenya, the Bangalore, and Pune regions of India, where application of knowledge from Afya Serengeti is leading to promising results.

Mission Rabies Reaches Goals
Mission Rabies is an initiative of Luke Gamble and his charity, Worldwide Veterinary Service. Of the worldwide deaths attributed to rabies, over a third are reported to occur in India with 30-60 percent of those deaths being children under 16. Additionally, it is estimated that 15 million people in India are bitten by animals annually. Mission Rabies aims to totally eliminate rabies by 2030 and maintains vaccination teams in India and conducts rabies education programs.

Since 2013, Mission Rabies has reached its goal of vaccinating 50,000 street dogs in 10 rabies hot spots in India throughout the month of September, using NOBIVAC Rabies vaccines donated by Merck Animal Health.

A Rabies-Free World
“At Merck Animal Health, we believe that a world free of rabies is possible,” says David Hallas, Merck Animal Health. “By continuing to donate vaccines and providing our resources to programs like Afya Serengeti and Mission Rabies, we can help stop rabies in its tracks.”

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Please see Prescribing Information for Nobivac® Vaccines at

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 and Twitter at @MerckAH.

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