Rabid Racoons Found in Manhattan
The New York City Health Department today announced that it has identified four racoons in around Manhattan since January. These are the first rabid raccoons identified in Manhattan since 2011, following an intensive vaccination effort where the Department trapped, vaccinated and released almost 500 raccoons in and around Central Park. The Health Department is reminding New Yorkers to stay away from raccoons and other wild animals that can carry rabies. The Parks Department is posting signs in Inwood Hill Park warning residents to stay away from raccoons. To date this year, six rabid animals have been identified in New York City: four raccoons from upper Manhattan (all in or near Inwood Hill Park), one raccoon from the Bronx, and one raccoon from Staten Island. There are no known bites or exposures to these animals.
Since 1992, when animal rabies surveillance began, over 600 animals have tested positive for rabies in New York City. Raccoons are the most commonly reported rabid animal in New York City. Staten Island and the Bronx have reported more rabid raccoons than Queens and Brooklyn. Manhattan experienced a large outbreak from 2009 to 2011, during which 138 rabid raccoons were reported from in and around Central Park. In addition to raccoons, other animals that commonly test positive for rabies in New York City include skunks, bats and cats.