NORTH BERGEN AND BEYOND -- A raccoon captured by North Bergen health officials on Sept. 12 was determined to have had rabies after tests were done in Trenton, officials said this week.
A resident called the North Bergen Health Department on Sept. 12 to report a raccoon just blocks from Franklin School that was acting sick that afternoon.
The disease is usually spread by an animal bite. People who contract the disease must get treatment immediately. The virus causes inflammation of the brain, and once people get to the point at which they start showing symptoms, there is no way to stop eventual death.
On Sept. 12 at around 3:30 p.m., Health Director Richard Censullo received an emergency call on his cell phone after leaving his office. A resident told Censullo about a raccoon near 48th Street and Cottage Avenue. Raccoons usually come out at only night, an indication that something was wrong.
Censullo immediately went to the location, a few blocks from the school.
“The animal appeared to be dazed, it was acting like it was drunk,” said Censullo.
Censullo said the raccoon was acting erratically and putting the population at risk.
Censullo said that residents who see an animal acting sick should call the authorities immediately.
A skunk captured after a fight with a cat in North Bergen four months ago was also determined to have rabies. The cat received treatment immediately and was saved.
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