New Jersey

Raccoon That Mauled Boy, 6, in NJ Was Rabid: Family

The raccoon that attacked a 6-year-old boy as he walked to school in northern New Jersey has tested positive for rabies, the child's mother said. 

The mother of Aryan Gavali said the raccoon was rabid Wednesday when it ran across the street, jumped on the boy's back and crawled onto his face as he walked to school with her in Elmwood Park on Wednesday.

The child suffered lacerations to his face, including a deep cut under his right eye. He was released from the hospital Friday and is "doing fine" according to his mother. 

Resident Danny Walls has been credited for saving the boy, using a pole to beat and kill the raccoon as it gnawed on the boy's face.

His mother said Wednesday she didn't have the words to thank him.

"He saved my boy today," she said, still wearing the blood-stained coat from when she hugged her son Aryan after the attack. "He came like an angel." 

According to the Humane Society, rabid animals can display a range of symptoms including foaming at the mouth, aggression and disoriented behavior.

In raccoons, activity during the day can be an indicator of the deadly zoonotic virus as the species is typically nocturnal. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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