Yesterday afternoon we received an alert from the Department of Health regarding rabid raccoons taking over Central Park! Dun dun dun. They have officially issued a warning, and tell us there are three raccoons (so far!) identified as being rabid — one in recent months, and the other two in the past week... which means it's spreading quicker than you can say Cujo.
The DoH is now cautioning New Yorkers to stay away from raccoons, skunks, bats, stray dogs and cats and other wild animals that can carry rabies. Humans and animals alike can be infected — and that infection can lead to severe brain disease and death. Yeah, so um, call 311 if you see any odd behavior out there please. The last reported human case of rabies in the city was in 1953... so we're probably due for another!
And to recap the year in rabies: so far 2009 has seen 20 rabid animals in New York City — 14 raccoons from the Bronx, 4 raccoons from Manhattan, 1 raccoon from Queens and 1 bat from Staten Island. Back in July there were six rabid raccoons found in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.