We conducted health assessments on 113 free-ranging raccoons (Procyon lotor) in Central Park, New York City, US, in February 2010, September 2010, and November 2011 in conjunction with a trap-vaccinate-release program to control a raccoon rabies epizootic. Five individuals were sampled at two time points for 118 raccoon examinations in total. We tested 13 of 13 and 8 of 13 euthanized raccoons for rabies and canine distemper virus (CDV), respectively, by antigen testing on brain tissue; all were negative for both viruses. Endoparasitism was the most common necropsy finding, with definitive identification of Baylisascaris procyonis in six of eight (75%) necropsied raccoons. Multiple intestinal parasites were detected in feces of living raccoons, including ascarid-type ova in 25 of 80 (31%) raccoons, with B. procyonis confirmed in one sample. Median blood lead level was 7.3 μg/dL (n=104). Rabies virus neutralizing antibody titer was ≥0.5 IU/mL in 9 of 88 (10%) raccoons naive to rabies vaccination and in 13 of 20 (65%) previously vaccinated raccoons. The majority of raccoons we tested were seropositive for canine parvovirus-2 (54/59, 92%) and Toxoplasma gondii (39/60, 65%). Fewer were seropositive for Rickettsia rickettsii (3/30, 10%). None were seropositive for CDV (n=108), canine adenovirus-1 (n=60), or Borrelia burgdorferi (n=30). Ectoparasites found during 16 of 118 (13.6%) physical examinations included Ixodes texanus ticks (15/118, 12.7%) and Trichodectes octomaculatus lice (1/118, 0.8%). We detected Campylobacter jejuni in 5 of 79 (6%) fecal samples. We detected 11 Salmonella enterica serotypes in 70 of 111 (63.1%) enteric cultures, the most common of which were Salmonella Newport (20/70, 29%) and Salmonella Oranienburg (20/70, 29%). These results indicate that raccoons in Central Park likely are involved in the environmental occurrence and potential disease transmission of a variety of infectious and noninfectious diseases of concern for human, wildlife, and domestic animal health.
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Vol. 53 • No. 2