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Rabies Scare Shakes Denville, N.J., After Raccoon Bites 7-Year-Old Boy

Raccoon Attack

Nick Forgione, 7, was bitten by a raccoon in Denville, N.J., this past weekend, and a rabies scare has shaken the town. (Credit: CBS 2)

DENVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A 7-year-old boy was bitten by a raccoon this past weekend, the second rabies scare in town in just three weeks.

As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported Tuesday, Nick Forgione’s brother, Jack, was frantic as he ran home.

“Jack ran inside and said, ‘Mom, mom, Nick got bit by a raccoon!’” Nick said.

The bite marks were still fresh on Nick’s leg Tuesday evening, following the attack, which happened in broad daylight Sunday in the family’s backyard.

“I just looked down, and I was like, ‘Aaaah!’” Nick said. “And then I just kicked it off and then ran.”

Less than three weeks ago, a rabid raccoon bit a dog just half a mile from the site where Nick got bit. The dog’s owner was exposed, and treated for rabies.

“I’m anticipating a problem,” Denville Animal Control Officer Meredith Petrillo said.

Petrillo caught the first raccoon, but as of Tuesday night was still trying to catch the second one that bit the boy.

She said she has set up half a dozen traps in the woods, and has told people to be on the lookout for raccoons who are out during the day and acting strangely.

“Any animal that approaches you, or looks like it’s going to approach you — get in the house and call and we’ll be there for you,” Petrillo said.

The presence of rabid raccoons tends to go in three-year cycles. Back in 2010, 11 raccoons were trapped in Denville and all of them tested positive for rabies.

“And once you have that one, you’re going to have a lot,” Denville said.

She warned Nick and his brother to stay out of the woods. And town officials are warning people around the area to make sure their pets are vaccinated.

“What we’re trying to do is make the public aware that it’s happened; to take some precautions,” said Denville Police Chief Christopher Wagner.

“It does make me nervous, and it makes me more aware of the surroundings to look around and see if there’s anything,” Jack said.

Nick is undergoing rabies treatments, and received four shots the other day. He has three more shots to go, and is on antibiotics.

The Town of Denville said it will continue trapping raccoons and sending them to the state lab for rabies testing.

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