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Apr 25, 2015

00:28:29 GMT--Biological Hazard - North-America - USA


EDIS Number: BH-20150423-47906-USA
Date / time: 23/04/2015 00:14:32 [UTC]
Event: Biological Hazard
Area: North-America
Country: USA
State/County: State of New Jersey
Location: Norwood
Number of Deads: N/A
Number of Injured: N/A
Number of Infected: N/A
Number of Missing: N/A
Number of Affected: N/A
Number of Evacuated: N/A
Damage level: N/A

Description:

An aggressive coyote that was shot and killed in the borough after it attacked a police car tested positive for rabies, state health officials said Wednesday. Authorities have said the same animal could have attacked a borough man on Sunday, but now could not be sure of the link. "There's no way to tie it into the attack," police Chief Jeff Krapels said Wednesday afternoon. Police, state wildlife officials and county animal control officers would continue to search for the sick coyote's mate spotted in the borough, the chief said. Officials hoped to capture and test the animal for rabies. Officers fielded a string of reported coyote sightings in the borough this week, according to Krapels, who took to Twitter and Facebook to keep residents updated on the search. Late Wednesday afternoon police were tracking an "active coyote den and coyotes" on the Norwood Public School grounds, the police department reported on Twitter. It was possible the highly contagious disease spread to other coyotes in the animal's den, Krapels added. School officials canceled outdoor sports practices and planned to hold recess inside for students this week, police said. Two coyote dens were found near school grounds on Monday. Police were "very confident" that the sick coyote shot by wildlife officers was the same animal that attacked the tires of a police car on Monday, a department statement said. The day before a police car was attacked, borough resident Stephen Sinisi was taking his dog, Raleigh, for a midnight walk when he said the coyote came out of the woods near McClellan Street and D'Ercole Court and bit him. The attack marked the second time in recent weeks that a rabid coyote bit a Bergen County resident.

A 77-year-old Saddle River man was attacked while working in his yard April 6. The Norwood case became the seventh reported coyote attack on a human in the state within the last 25 years, according to state statistics. State Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna said traps were set in areas around Norwood and wildlife officers were working with police. The highly adaptable coyote can feast on everything from trash, to bird feeders and pet food. Though New Jersey doesn't track its coyote population, Hajna said the animals are found throughout the state and the population has grown. Krapels, the police chief, said he has noticed a marked increase in coyotes locally over the last two years. Coyotes are nocturnal and known to be shy animals. However, coyotes infected with rabies can become aggressive, officials warned. "Animals infected with rabies may act very aggressive and attempt to attack people and their pets," state Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Colin T. Campbell said in a statement. "Anyone who sees a suspected rabid animal should avoid contact with the animal and call animal control or the local police immediately for assistance, once they are safe from attack." Campbell said rabies cases in humans are rare and preventative treatment is "100 percent effective if given promptly." Rabies infections occur mostly in wild animals, including raccoons, bats, skunks, groundhogs and foxes, according to the state Department of Health. The majority of domestic animal cases in New Jersey are in cats. About 65 animals have tested positive for rabies in the state this year, which includes the two coyotes in Bergen County, the health department said.


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