Canine distemper, a virus that can be deadly in animals, has recently been spreading among Central Park raccoons. Two have tested positive for the virus, and the parks department suspects that 24 other raccoons that have recently died also had contracted the virus.
The raccoons have not tested positive for rabies. And the canine distemper disease cannot be passed to humans, the city says.
Canine distemper can also be contracted by dogs, but any dog that s up to date with its shots shouold be protected according to the city Department of Health.
The parks department sent us the following information:
“26 raccoons found in Central Park
- 13 tested negative for rabies
- 9 waiting on results
- 3 could not be tested due to advanced decay / carcass condition
- 1 found Saturday, July 21 (will be sent for testing)
NYC Parks Rangers reported, collected and identified the raccoons. Most reports came to us from employees (CPC or parks) or our wildlife partners (Wild Bird Fund). Only a few came from the public.
The first raccoons were collected on 6/24 and 6/28 – E. 72nd and 102nd streets respectfully. The majority of them were found north in the park (7/8, 10, 11, 13, 14 and 17) between E. 93rd to 110th/Lenox Ave. area. Additionally, 7/17 and 19, others were found to the south between the Delacort Theater, the reservoir and Grand Army Plaza.
Raccoons have had a significant presence in Central Park for years—we do not believe there has been an increase. Parks does not have a population count.”
The Health Department also sent out some information.
“The Health Department and NYC Parks recently discovered raccoons infected with distemper in Central Park. No raccoons have tested positive for rabies. Test results have not discovered any risk to human health. The Health Department will continue to monitor the extent and duration of the condition.”
•Distemper is a viral illness that affects dogs and certain species of wildlife including raccoons and skunks
•There are no health risk to humans
•There is no concern for pets if their distemper vaccinations are up to date
•Distemper spreads when animals make contact with infected saliva, feces,respiratory discharge or urine
•Avoid wildlife and check to see if your pet’s vaccines are up to date
•Raccoons with distemper act disoriented and lethargic, and they can become aggressive
•The public should call 311 if they see a sick or injured raccoon
•The Health Department will continue to monitor the extent and duration of the condition