A dead raccoon recovered from the Argyle Road area has tested positive for the rabies virus, according to The Montclair Health Department, which was notified by the New Jersey Department of Health of the animal's status.

Rabies is a fatal disease of warm-blooded mammals caused by a virus, most frequently spread through a bite or scratch from an infected animal. An infected animal has the rabies virus in its saliva and infects other animals or people through bites and contact with saliva. Once infected animals become ill, they may bite or attack other animals or people.

Common carriers of the virus are raccoons, skunks, foxes, woodchucks, bats and feral (stray) cats. Montclair Health Department officials are advising residents to stay away from wild animals and animals that they do not know.

Some warning signs of neurological diseases like rabies and distemper include appearing drunk or excessively wobbly, circling, seeming partially paralyzed, unable to climb, acting disorientated or mutilating itself.

Officials are also reminding residents to not feed stray animals. Family pets should be licensed, vaccinated and up to date on rabies vaccination.

If you notice an animal acting strangely,contact Montclair Police Department 973-744-1234 to have an Animal Control Officer dispatched.

For more information, visit: humanesociety.org/resources/understanding-rabies.