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(BPT) - In the US, laws pertaining to rabies vaccinations in dogs and cats vary considerably between states (and even between counties in certain states). These laws may drive pet owners to visit their veterinarian to have their dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies.
According to the World Health Organization, dogs are the main source of human rabies deaths around the world, contributing up to 99 percent of all rabies transmissions to humans. Additionally, more than 95 percent of these global human deaths from rabies take place in Asia and Africa.
Merial, now part of Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), a leading manufacturer of vaccines for dogs and cats, is donating 75,000 doses of rabies vaccine to the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) to help reduce the incidence of rabies in dogs on the African island nation of Madagascar.
RABIES: A THREAT TO PEOPLE AND DOGS
The need for rabies control is illustrated in the case of Maro, a 45-year-old farmer who was bitten, along with four other people, by an unknown dog in his village. Tragically for Maro, he didn’t have the means to get to a clinic for critical medical care following the bite. Two months later, Maro developed symptoms consistent with the onset of rabies and died.
“Like most African countries, Madagascar is rabies endemic. GARC estimates that there are nearly 200 human deaths and countless more animal rabies cases each year,” explained Professor Louis Nel, chief executive officer of GARC. “We are grateful for this generous donation, which will save canine lives.”
“We are pleased to join with the Global Alliance for Rabies Control to help make a positive difference in Madagascar by vaccinating dogs against this deadly disease,” stated Zach Mills, DVM, executive director of Boehringer Ingelheim’s U.S. Pet Veterinary Professional Services. “This is also a good opportunity to remind pet owners here at home to consult their veterinarians to make sure their dogs’ and cats’ vaccines are current.”
WORLD RABIES DAY BRINGS ATTENTION TO DISEASE PREVENTION
Each year on September 28, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and partner organizations worldwide mark World Rabies Day, a time to raise awareness of this preventable disease and underscore GARC’s commitment to eliminate deaths from canine rabies worldwide by 2030.
More information on GARC and World Rabies Day is available at https://rabiesalliance.org/world-rabies-day.
©2018 Merial Inc., Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. PET-0713-BIO0818
 World Health Organization. (2018). Rabies. [Fact sheet]. http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/rabies. Accessed May 1, 2018.
 Information provided by Global Alliance for Rabies Control, 2018. Hampson K, Coudeville L, Lembo T, Sambo M, Kieffer A, Attlan M, et al. (2015) Estimating the Global Burden of Endemic Canine Rabies. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 9(4): e0003709. Doi:10.1371/journal. pntd.