By Dr. Jess Trimble
Four raccoons with rabies have been reported in Manhattan in 2019, the first time rabies have been reported on the island since 2011. City officials recommend avoidance of wild animals and vaccination of pets against rabies. Other animals that carry rabies include skunks, rats, and cats.
To protect your pet against rabies, the Health Department recommends the following:
Make sure your dog or cat is up-to-date on rabies vaccinations. If you are unsure, contact your veterinarian.
Keep your dog leashed while outdoors unless at a specified off-leash area or park.
Do not leave your pets outdoors unattended.
Feed pets indoors.
If your pet has been in contact with a raccoon, skunk, bat, or any other animal that might be rabid, contact your veterinarian and report the incident to 311.
New York's Health Department has reported 4 cases of raccoons with rabies in and around Inwood Hill Park this year. “Rabies is a serious illness that poses a danger for you and your pets,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Keep a close eye on your pets when you take them outside and if you see a wild animal – such as a raccoon – maintain a safe distance and do not approach it. Get your pets vaccinated against rabies, and if you think they’ve been bitten by a rabid animal, call 311.”
The last rabies outbreak in Manhattan occurred from 2009-2011 during which 138 rabid raccoons were reported in and around Central Park. The city vaccinated & released more than 500 raccoons in and around the park to quell that outbreak. The city is taking a similar tactic with this outbreak by vaccinating and releasing raccoons around the park.