Four rabid raccoons have been found in Manhattan since January. These are the first rabid raccoons to be found in New York after the authorities conducted intensive vaccination efforts years before.
Rabid Raccoons In Manhattan
The New York Health Department has announced that it has identified four rabid raccoons in and around Inwood Hill Park in Manhattan since January. It is the first time that rabid raccoons were identified in Manhattan since 2011, after the city conducted intensive vaccination efforts, trapping, vaccinating, and releasing 500 raccoons at the time.
Apart from the four raccoons in Manhattan, one rabid raccoon was also identified in Staten Island, and another in the Bronx. So far, there are no rabies exposures or bites associated with the cases.
‘Danger To The Community’
Because of the six rabies cases, authorities are urging New Yorkers to vaccinate their pets and to keep a close eye on them, especially when they are outside. For instance when walking around parks, pet owners must be vigilant of their surroundings, and to stay away when they see a wild animal.
“Rabies is a serious danger for the entire community, human and pet alike,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat, urging residents to maintain their distance from wild animals should they cross paths with one, and to call 311 to ensure their safety.
Rabies In New York
It was in 1992 when animal rabies surveillance in New York began. Since then, over 600 animals have tested positive for rabies, with raccoons being the most commonly reported rabid animal in New York city. But apart from raccoons, bats, cats, and skunks are also commonly reported rabid animals.
From 2009 to 2011, Manhattan experienced a rabies outbreak wherein 138 rabid raccoons were reported in and around Central Park. Since the Health Department’s vaccination efforts, these new cases in 2019 are the first ones to be reported.
“The City has done a great job keeping our wildlife free from rabies, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas,” said Senator Robert Jackson.