Rabid Raccoon found in Lake Hiawatha

File photo

PARSIPPANY — The Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills Health Department was notified that a raccoon found on Minnehaha Boulevard in the Lake Hiawatha section has tested positive for the Rabies virus.

Rabies is a fatal disease of warm-blooded mammals caused by a virus, most frequently spread through a bite or scratch from an infected animal. An infected animal has the rabies virus in its saliva and infects other animals or people through bites and contact with saliva. Once infected animals become ill, they may bite or attack other animals or people.

Common carriers of the virus are raccoons, skunks, foxes, woodchucks, bats, and feral (stray) cats. Everyone is advised to stay away from wild animals and animals that you do not know.  Please do not feed stray animals. Do not make pets of wild animals.  Be certain that your dog is properly licensed, vaccinated and up to date on their rabies vaccination. If you know of any stray cats, or dogs or any other animal in the area acting strangely, please contact the Parsippany Animal Control at (973) 263-7083.

Please keep garbage in a container with a tight fitting lid to prevent attracting animals. Clean up spilled bird seed. Do not leave pet food out for extended time periods.

If you are exposed (either bitten or scratched) by any suspected animal; please act promptly. Immediately wash the bite wound with soap and water and call your physician and the Health Department.  If your pet is bitten or in a fight with a wild animal, please contact the Parsippany Health Department at (973)-263-7160 and your Veterinarian.

Raccoons—along with foxes (red and gray), skunks, and bats—are considered a primary carrier of the rabies virus in the United States. While any warm-blooded animal can carry rabies, these are the ones we call “rabies vector species.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only one human has ever died from the raccoon strain of rabies.

A rabid raccoon is usually dead within 1-3 days of becoming infectious, and even if you’re bitten by a rabid raccoon, effective post-exposure treatment is available.