Contributing to
Public Health

Contributing to
Public Health

We provide a range of vaccines, pharmaceuticals and educational tools to keep companion animals and livestock healthy in order to help ensure a stable food supply and help control diseases that can ultimately affect the health of people.


Global trade, global migration and climate change are increasing the spread of highly infectious diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, lumpy skin disease, African swine fever, peste des petits ruminants, and zoonotic diseases such as avian flu and rabies. Animal health and human health are inextricably linked: highly infectious diseases have a direct impact on food production and the livelihood of farming families, leading to malnutrition and poverty, while zoonotic diseases directly impact human lives. Vaccination, alongside education, can help control such diseases in the animal reservoir, reduce the likelihood of their spreading to humans, and minimize the medical, social and economic impact that could occur if they were left unchecked.

“Strengthening the knowledge exchange between animal health and human health researchers to identify opportunities to prevent disease transmission is more important now than ever. Improving animal health may help to improve human health.”

Richard R. DeLuca, Jr.
President, MSD Animal Health


Food-borne bacteria, such as salmonella, are a continuing concern, particularly for poultry farmers. Human consumption of poultry or eggs infected with bacteria can result in severe illness, pushing governments and industry to implement adequate measures to reduce this risk. With our Go Beyond food safety and intestinal health program, we provide poultry producers with vaccines and services to combat salmonella, promote gut health and protect against parasites that can be a vector for disease. Go Beyond includes a unique monitoring program to aid in locating and addressing food safety control points within a producer’s operation. These initiatives help to protect human health, as well as the health and well-being of poultry, through disease prevention.


Our Animal Health canine preventive product protects dogs against sandfly-borne leishmaniasis, helping to control one of the world’s deadliest parasitic diseases in the animal reservoir, causing an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 human deaths annually.1

Our products help to minimize the annual number of human deaths from animal-borne diseases.


Rabies is a fatal neurological disease that can be carried by a number of hosts, including dogs, which are the primary route of transmission to humans. Rabies is widespread throughout Asia and Africa, with more than 59,000 people2—mostly children—dying from the disease each year after being bitten by dogs. Rabies has a significant, negative impact on public health budgets, local communities and livestock economies in developing areas. The vast majority of rabies fatalities occur in Asia (59.6 percent) and Africa (36.4 percent). India, the world’s second-most-populated country, accounts for 35 percent of all human rabies deaths, but the per-person death rate is highest in the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Our Animal Health business has a history in rabies control. We have supported the Afya Serengeti Initiative in Tanzania since 1997 through the donation of canine rabies vaccines and resources to conduct vaccination campaigns. In 2013, we expanded our support to the Mission Rabies project, focused on rabies vaccination and education in Asia and Africa. We are proud to donate vaccines, as well as our time, with Animal Health employees participating in vaccination activities. By 2017, Merck Animal Health’s Afya Program had donated more than 2 million rabies doses to partners including Afya Serengeti and Mission Rabies as part of a broader global initiative to eliminate canine-mediated human rabies by the year 2030. As dogs are the source of the vast majority of human rabies deaths (accounting for up to 99 percent of rabies transmissions to humans), rabies elimination is feasible through the vaccination of dogs.3

1. World Health Organization. Leishmaniasis Fact Sheet. March 2018;
2. Hampson K, Coudeville L, Lembo T, Sambo M, Kieffer A, Attlan M, et al. Estimating the global burden of endemic canine rabies. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2015; 9(4): e0003709. doi:10.1371/journal. pntd.0003709.
3. World Health Organization. Rabies Fact Sheet. September 2017;