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News Archive

13 June 2019

Merck Animal Health and Mission Rabies Extend Long-Standing Collaboration to Eliminate Rabies in High-Risk Regions Around the World

Partnership Includes Five Year Rabies Vaccine Donation Commitment

MADISON, N.J., June 13, 2019 - Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA, today announced a commitment to extend donations of the company’s NOBIVAC® rabies vaccine to Mission Rabies for the next five years. This commitment builds on a long-standing collaboration with Mission Rabies to eliminate rabies in high-risk regions around the world, principally in Africa, India and other parts of Asia where the vast majority of human cases still occur.

Rabies has an enormous impact on both animals and humans. Of the estimated 59,000 people who die from rabies every year, 99 percent of those affected are bitten by rabid dogs and 40 percent of deaths occur in children under the age of 15. Low levels of canine vaccination in endemic areas and a lack of awareness about rabies preventative health care contribute to needless fatalities.

Since the launch of Mission Rabies in 2013, Merck Animal Health has partnered with the organization to provide donated rabies vaccine. In addition, Merck Animal Health employees have also volunteered with Mission Rabies on the ground, helping to vaccinate dogs and educate communities, especially children, about rabies prevention.

“Thanks to the phenomenal support of Merck Animal Health, we’ve vaccinated over one million dogs in global rabies hotspots in the past four years. As a result, we have achieved zero human rabies deaths at two of our key project sites in the last 12 months. Together, we’re making a real difference in regions of the world most affected by rabies,” said Luke Gamble, BVSc, DVM&S FRCVS, founder, Mission Rabies. “With the signing of a new five-year vaccine donation agreement, we are looking forward to furthering this life-saving collaboration and striving toward the global elimination of canine-transmitted human rabies.”

“Research has proven that mass canine vaccination is the cornerstone of effective rabies elimination, and Mission Rabies has demonstrated that mass vaccination is possible, even in areas with high numbers of street or stray dogs,” added Dr. David Sutton, Global Technical Director, Merck Animal Health. “We are proud to contribute to Mission Rabies’ practical and science-based methodology and support this with a five-year donation commitment to supply rabies vaccine.”

About Mission Rabies

Since 2013, Mission Rabies has set a goal to vaccinate dogs across rabies hotspots in India, where over a third of all human rabies deaths occur. Based on the program’s success in India, Mission Rabies has expanded its programs to other parts of Asia and Africa and currently has eight international project sites.

Mission Rabies does more than just vaccinate hundreds of thousands of dogs against rabies each year. The teams go to schools and educate children in these communities, informing them of the seriousness of the disease. Children are the most affected by rabies because they often come into contact with stray dogs and don’t understand how deadly rabies can be.

Using a fast-paced team of veterinarians and volunteers, Mission Rabies has so far vaccinated one million dogs and educated more than two million children about the risk of rabies. For more information, visit

About Merck Animal Health

For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA, 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 ranges of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services as well as an extensive suite of digitally connected identification, traceability and monitoring products. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals and the people who care for them. 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 LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter at @MerckAH.

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