Virus ramps up among park’s racoons: More critters found with distemper in Prospect

Spreading: Parks Department officials said five raccoons from Prospect Park have now been found infected by distemper, up from two reported cases found in local animals earlier this month — none of which were this critter, who just looks ill-tempered.
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A virus spreading among local raccoons has infected twice as many critters in Prospect Park than previously reported, with up to 15 masked bandits now potentially serving as hosts for distemper — an illness fatal to dogs and other common pets — according to officials.

Testing confirmed five cases of distemper in raccoons from Brooklyn’s Backyard, up from a reported two earlier this month, according to Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Crystal Howard, who said the agency sent 16 animals to be tested, 10 of which it is still awaiting results for, and one of which did not have the virus.

In early stages, distemper produces cold symptoms in animals, including watery eyes, a runny nose, vomiting, and diarrhea. Later stages yield symptoms including a loss of brain function, which may cause infected raccoons to exhibit zombie-like behavior such as wandering aimlessly and becoming aggressive.

Humans are not susceptible to the virus, but man’s best friend is, and it can kill Fido if left untreated.

Fortunately, an all-in-one vaccine preventing distemper, along with parovirus, adenovirus, and other illnesses, is available to pooches.

But it’s up to their owners — a contingent of whom have shown resistance to such inoculations for fear of canine autism, according to some local vets — to ensure their fuzzy friends are up to date on the shot, which, unlike the rabies vaccine, is not required to get a pet license in New York State.

The growing outbreak of distemper in Kings County follows a small plague that spread across the East River, where officials tested some 176 animals from Manhattan’s Central Park for the virus over the summer, according to Parks Department spokeswoman Maeri Ferguson, who noted the last positive case in that borough was discovered on Sept. 19.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 9:24 am, October 23, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Save Nature 1st from Prospect Park says:
The return of raccoons is a return of nature which we must save 1st before the unnatural household pet. Get your pet vaccinated and keep them on a leash as they should be on any non-dog-run area. Save Nature 1st - save the raccoons.
Oct. 23, 2018, 12:43 pm
Tyler from pps says:
It says the raccoons will have weird symptoms, and it's fatal to dogs... Is it fatal to the raccoons?
Oct. 23, 2018, 6:13 pm
Save Nature 1st from Prospect Park says:
Yea, what about trapping our masked-buddies and treating their ailments so it doesn't spread to the healthy ones, and so we don't let the media negatively profile raccoons as rabid, and allow some opportunist politician to pretend to be a hero and start exterminating them. If we can save dogs and cats which are unnatural, we can save raccoons which are a rebounding part of nature.
Oct. 24, 2018, 9:46 am
Humans from Brooklyn says:
So worth watching what we as humans were meant to do because we can:
Oct. 24, 2018, 6:08 pm

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