By MARIEL SMITH
Updated 7:15 AM EST, Wed, Feb 17, 2010
The New York City Health Department announced today that they will vaccinate raccoons against rabies in Upper Manhattan amid a recent surge in spottings of the potentially-rabid animals.
For the next two months, wildlife personnel will humanely trap raccoons in Central Park, Morningside Park, and Riverside Park, and then proceed to vaccinate and ID them, before releasing them in the same location where they were caught, officials said.
Trappers will repeat the process this summer to account for raccoons born in the spring.
The traps, which are a collaborative effort between the Health Department, the Parks Department, the Central Park Conservancy, and the United States Department of Agriculture, will be put in isolated areas to prevent visitors and pets from disrupting them.
According to the Health Department, 39 raccoons tested positive for rabies in Manhattan, with one raccoon in Brooklyn, so far this year.
Since December, the city had three cases of rabies attributed to raccoons; One where a dog was bitten, one in which a person was bitten, and another person who was caring for an ill raccoon.
The Health Department listed the locations of the infected raccoons on their website and will continue to update it regularly.