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MSD Animal Health takes on the #Rabies360Challenge

As part of World Rabies day on 28 September, MSD Animal Health have launched a rabies elimination awareness campaign, the #Rabies360Challenge

In the build up to World Rabies Day on 28 September, MSD Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., is running a rabies elimination awareness campaign, the #Rabies360Challenge.

It aims to help educate and create new interest among the veterinary community and pet lovers, in eliminating canine rabies around the world by 2030. The challenge is to do something you like 360 times (or in multiples of 360), such as walk 360 miles over two weeks, cycle 360 miles over 10 days, or do 3,600 steps a day. You can do it on your own or as a team.

MSD Animal Health employees are committed to walking up and down the three story office stairs over the course of September. The veterinary community is being asked to play their part and post their achievements on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and/or LinkedIn using the hashtag #Rabies360Challenge. More information can be found on the MSD Animal Health website, here.

“Protecting our dogs from rabies also means protecting ourselves from this deadly disease,” said Luke Gamble, BVSc, DVM&S, FRCVS, founder of Mission Rabies. “On this World Rabies Day, only nine years away from the World Health Organisation goal of zero dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030, we’re calling on our generation to be the one to eliminate rabies and make this the final rabies generation.”

Each year, an estimated 59,000 people die from rabies, with over 99 percent of cases contracted from a dog bite. Additionally, 40 percent of those deaths occur in children of 15 years and under. This is in part because of low rates of canine vaccination in rabies-endemic areas and a lack of awareness about the disease. To prevent rabies transmission in rabies-endemic areas, at least 70 percent of the dogs there need to be protected through annual mass-vaccination.

“Working collaboratively with MSD Animal Health, governments, health organisations and communities has helped us make substantial headway to improve health for the people and canines that share our complex and ever-changing environment,” notes Felix Lankester, DVM, Ph.D., director of Rabies Free Africa. “In fact, in the last year there have been no reported rabies outbreaks in areas where 70 percent or more of the dogs have been vaccinated and no reported cases of canine rabies in the Serengeti wildlife.”

“Rabies and other zoonotic infectious diseases pose particular threats to global health security but can be managed or prevented through well-coordinated vaccination efforts,” said Ingrid Deuzeman, global marketing director of companion animal vaccines at MSD Animal Health. “With well over 3 million doses of the Nobivac Rabies vaccine donated globally, MSD Animal Health remains committed to collaborating with our public and private global partners to eliminate rabies through the Afya Program, which started as a regional research project by veterinarian Sarah Cleaveland.

“Countless veterinarians, volunteers and dog owners are hard at work every day to prevent rabies and as we celebrate our 25-years, we must celebrate all these individuals and organisations who have worked with us to save canine and human lives.”

Veterinary Practice

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