DULUTH, Ga., Jan. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Merial today announced the launch of www.RabiesAware.org, a national rabies information resource for the veterinary profession, at the 2016 North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) conference. Led by Dr. Richard Ford DVM, MS, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, this first-of-its-kind website tracks up-to-date information on state and local laws and helps to ensure that veterinarians and staff have quick and easy access to the most accurate information.
"The application, interpretation and enforcement of rabies vaccination laws can vary significantly from state to state, and even county to county," said Dr. Ford. "Complex and sometimes conflicting rabies laws can lead to considerable confusion, misinterpretation of state and local statutes and inappropriate actions on the part of individual practitioners. The information found on RabiesAware.org will not only provide veterinarians and staff access to the most up-to-date information, but it will also ensure that they have the necessary tools to help educate pet owners on the importance of rabies vaccinations."
For the first time, veterinarians and staff will have access to rabies vaccination requirements and laws on a state-by-state basis through this valuable, new online information resource. The site will provide a wealth of information including:
State-specific frequently asked questions
Access to the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians' Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control
A comprehensive list of available US-approved rabies vaccines
Contact information for state public health veterinarians
The development of RabiesAware.org was sponsored by Merial under its national Rabies Awareness Initiative. This initiative aims to support veterinarians and staff by providing enhanced educational resources and materials to promote rabies immunization awareness and vaccination compliance among pet owners.
"We are excited to support Dr. Ford and the launch of this new resource for the veterinarian community," said Brad Kaegi, Senior Director Brands and Franchises - US Pets Marketing. "We hope the site will serve as another great resource veterinarians can use to help counsel pet owners on the importance of rabies vaccination and continue to reduce the public health risks of the virus."
RabiesAware.org contains current information on nearly 20 states and will be completed for all 50 states and Puerto Rico later this year.
Rabies, a viral disease which occurs in more than 150 countries and territories, can pose a significant threat to the public health of animals and people, but is preventable through vaccination. Outside of the US, the vast majority of human exposure to rabies reported each year is due to transmission resulting from close contact with domesticated animals, such as dogs. In the US, cases of rabies are reported each year, a majority of which in wildlife. Practicing veterinarians today are helping minimize the public health risk of rabies through vaccination.
Merial is a global leader in rabies management and prevention, with a range of vaccines to prevent rabies in pets, farm animals and wildlife. Known for its legacy in rabies prevention, Merial is credited with introducing the world's first rabies vaccine. In 2015, Merial celebrated the 25-year anniversary of its first outdoor field trial on Parramore Island, Va., of RABORAL V-RG®, Merial's first wildlife rabies vaccine and still the only oral rabies vaccination bait product licensed for use in the U.S.
Veterinarians and staff interested in learning more about the Merial Rabies Awareness Initiative should contact their Merial sales representative and visit, www.RabiesAware.org. The site will go live Monday, January 18, 2016.
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 6,600 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide with over €2 billion of sales in 2014. Merial has three main business areas: pets, farm animals, and veterinary public health. Our pharmaceuticals and vaccines focus on disease prevention and overall health and wellness in animals, and target more than 200 diseases and conditions across a variety of species. Merial is a Sanofi company. For more information, please see www.merial.com.
 World Health Organization. Rabies. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs099/en/. Accessed 12/28/2015.
 Dyer J, Yager P, et al. Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2013. JAVMA 2014;245(10)1111-1123.
 Committee on Public Health and Rabies. Report of the Committee on Public Health and Rabies. Kansas City, MO: 2014.
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