Duluth, Georgia – September 28, 2015 –Merial, the animal health division of Sanofi, is proud to recognize on World Rabies Day, alongside public and private institutions, the significant accomplishments jointly achieved through 25 years of oral rabies vaccination (ORV) of wildlife in the United States.

This year marks the 25-year anniversary of the first outdoor field trial on Parramore Island, Va., of Raboral V-RG®, Merial’s wildlife rabies vaccine and still the only ORV bait product licensed for use in the U.S. 1 The successful trial was conducted to help prevent the local spread of rabies in raccoons following an epidemic of U.S. rabies infections in wild animals in the 1980s.

U.S. ORV wildlife programs with RABORAL V-RG have contributed to the elimination of the coyote rabies variant from southern Texas since 20042; the near elimination of the gray fox rabies variant in the United States1; and the ongoing prevention of the spread of the raccoon rabies virus variant in the eastern United States1. To date, approximately 160 million doses of Raboral V-RG have been distributed in the U.S.3

Raboral V-RG baits are distributed by fixed-wing aircraft in rural areas or hand-baiting in urban areas. The bait consists of a plastic packet containing the Raboral V-RG rabies vaccine that is either sprinkled with fishmeal coating or encased in small, fishmeal polymer baits. When an animal finds and bites into a bait, the sachet ruptures, allowing the animal to swallow the vaccine. For more information about Raboral V-RG, visit www.raboral.com

Merial is proud to be the global leader in rabies management and prevention, with a range of vaccines to prevent rabies in pets, farm animals and wildlife – and also a partner to Sanofi with its leading human rabies vaccines.In the U.S., wildlife vaccination with RABORAL V-RGhas been a critical component of rabies control and prevention for 25 years, and Merial will continue to partner with public and private institutions to mobilize continued public, political and financial support for ORV programs to help ensure the future elimination of rabies.”

Joanne Maki, DVM, PhD, Wildlife Global Franchise Director, Veterinary Public Health Group.

Rabies is nearly 100 percent fatal, but is preventable. The rabies virus kills approximately one person every ten minutes worldwide today4; with more than 95 percent of cases in Africa and Asia4. In the U.S., approximately 90 percent of reported rabies cases occur in wildlife5, which serves as a source for the spread of rabies to humans, either through direct contact with wildlife or indirect contact with pets or livestock.  

Continued vigilance is needed to manage the public health threat of rabies. In the U.S. in 2013, more than 5,800 cases of rabies were reported in animals, with three human case reported5. As such, rabies in wildlife continues to be closely monitored and controlled, including active ORV baiting programs in 15 states this year.


About rabies

Rabies is a viral disease in mammals that is most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. To prevent rabies, vaccination against rabies for pets, livestock and key wildlife species is recognized globally as the best protection against human exposure.

About Merial

Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health and well-being of a wide range of animals. Merial employs 6,500 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide with over €2 billion of sales in 2014. Merial is a Sanofi company. For more information, please see  www.merial.com


®Raboral V-RG is a registered trademark of Merial. ©2015 Merial, Inc. Duluth, GA. All rights reserved.


  1. Committee on Public Health and Rabies. Report of the Committee on Public Health and Rabies. Kansas City, MO: 2014.
  2. Sidwa TJ, Wilson PJ, Moore GM, et al. Evaluation of oral rabies vaccination programs for control of rabies epizootics in coyotes and gray foxes: 1995–2003. JAVMA 2005; 227: 785–792
  3. Data on file at Merial
  4. Hampson, K, et al. Estimating the Global Burden of Endemic Canine Rabies . PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2015; 9(4):1-20 DOI:10.1371/journal.pntd. 0003709.
  5. Dyer J, Yager P, et al. Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2013 . JAVMA 2014;245(10)1111-1123.  


 WRD2015PR-R (9/2015)