Health warning after 4 rabid raccoons found in Upper Manhattan

INWOOD, Manhattan -- There is a health warning after four rabid raccoons were discovered in Upper Manhattan - the first time diseased raccoons have been found there in a decade.

Coupled with last summer's diseased raccoon outbreak in Central Park, 70 of them died. The latest find is more than troubling.

"I did run into someone that saw one waddling along, which means it was probably rabid," said Inwood resident Ted Minos.

The New York City Health Department issued a warning Friday after the four raccoons were found in or near Inwood Park from January 25th through March 4th.

"The majority of raccoons that do test positive are not raccoons that were identified, because they were aggressive or biting, It was more that they were found sick," said Sally Salvinski of the NYC Health Department.

Unlike most rabid animals, the Health Department says rabid raccoons are not aggressive. They say dogs pose a bigger risk to them.

"Often times there's paralysis and weakness, and so it's more that the raccoon are more vulnerable to dogs attacking them," Salvinski adds.

That is why the department has posted signs for pet owners to be cautious - even tweeting a reminder about rabies shots, and to avoid wild animals.

"Last week, one of the rangers reported that there was a possibility of a rabid raccoon running around in the daytime, and he was asking if I had seen it, and I said no," said Inwood resident Kevin Burbage.

Like most pet owners - Burbage wants to keep it that way.

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