(White Plains, NY) – The coyote that lunged at and bit a 5-year-old girl at Carroll Park in Thornwood Sunday evening has tested positive for rabies.
The coyote was captured by an off-duty Irvington police officer, and was shot by a Mount Pleasant police officer after it bit the girl on the left forearm at the playground. Everyone who came into contact with the animal, or its saliva, is being evaluated to determine the need for preventive rabies treatment.
“If a coyote approaches, make noise and try to avoid it,” said Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD. “If it appears aggressive or lethargic, it could have rabies, so contact local police. Avoid contact with strays and other wildlife.”
Unusual behavior may be the first sign of rabies in an animal. A rabid animal may become either abnormally aggressive or unusually tame. It may lose fear of people and become excited and irritable, or appear particularly passive and lethargic. Staggering and frothing at the mouth are sometimes noted.
Any physical contact with a wild or unfamiliar animal should be immediately reported to a health care provider to evaluate the need for preventive rabies treatment. If left untreated, rabies is fatal.
All animal bites or contacts with animals suspected of having rabies must be reported to the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000, 24 hours a day.
Keeping pet rabies vaccinations up to date is also important for protection against rabies. New York State law requires dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies and receive regular booster shots. For more information, go to www.westchestergov.com/health or call the RABIES INFOLINE at (914) 813-5010.