​Duluth, US – September 24, 2014 – Merial, the animal health division of Sanofi, is joining the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) and millions of animal lovers around the world on September 28, 2014 to observe World Rabies Day (WRD), the primary awareness campaign for the elimination of rabies. Merial is encouraging everyone to participate in GARC’s “Me and My Dog – Together Against Rabies” campaign by sharing a photo of themselves with their dog on social media and using the hash tags #TogetherAgainstRabies and #MerialMeAndMyDog.

Rabies is a contagious, lethal disease in animals that is typically transmitted to pets through contact with wild animals, and can be transmitted to humans. Fortunately, rabies is easily preventable through vaccination. “World Rabies Day is a unique opportunity for all of us to play a part in spreading the word about eliminating human rabies through the vaccination of animals. The more of us who participate, the stronger we are in this important fight.

Joanne Maki, Director Veterinary Public Health for Wildlife and Companion Animals for Merial

For millions of people around the world, dogs are loyal and trusted companions and the best way to keep these special animals safe from rabies is through vaccination. “Me and my dog – Together against Rabies” is a GARC initiated social media campaign that asks individuals to share their photos and stories about their dogs and sign a pledge to support mass canine vaccination. Photos and pledges can be shared on the campaign website at meandmydog.rabiesalliance.org or on GARC’s Facebook wall at www.facebook.com/GlobalAllianceforRabiesControl. Participants are encouraged to spread the word through their own social networks by using the hashtag #TogetherAgainstRabies and #MerialMeAndMyDog.

Merial has a long heritage in developing vaccines to protect both wildlife and pets, going back to Institute Pasteur-Merieux, makers of the world’s first rabies vaccines. In addition to producing a family of advanced rabies vaccines that protects pets and livestock, Merial partners with government and non-profit organizations to prevent the spread of rabies as well as fight outbreaks worldwide. Merial has supported World Rabies Day since its inception in 2007 and advocates in the public health realm to reduce the burden of rabies at the global level.

About Rabies

According to the Center for Disease Control, around 70,000 people die from rabies annually, with over 99% of these deaths in Africa and Asia, as a result of being bitten by an infected dog. Up to 60% of all dog bites and rabies deaths occur in children under 15 years of age. Rabies is 99.9% fatal, but it is also 100% preventable. Eliminating the disease by vaccinating dogs protects them and stops transmission to people.

About World Rabies Day

World Rabies Day, held on September 28 every year, was initiated by Global Alliance for Rabies Control in 2007 to create a global opportunity for people to unite in rabies prevention. Since then, it has grown year upon year, with hundreds of thousands of people organizing and participating in local, regional and national events. Learn more at http://rabiesalliance.org/world-rabies-day

About Global Alliance for Rabies Control

The Global Alliance for Rabies Control is a leading non-profit organization that works with governments, veterinary, public health and educational experts and communities to facilitate policy change and develop models to eliminate rabies in areas hardest hit by the disease. GARC’s mission is to eliminate human deaths from rabies and relieve the burden of rabies in animal populations, especially dogs. For more information about rabies and GARC’s work, visit http://rabiesalliance.org.

About Merial

Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs 6,200 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide with close to €2 billion of sales in 2013. Merial is a Sanofi company. More info on www.merial.com.

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