Cook County residents are being urged to vaccinate their pets against rabies after numerous bats tested positive for the disease.
According to Cook County Animal and Rabies Control, 19 bats have tested positive for the disease this summer, and with bats able to get into contact with animals in a variety of ways, officials are advocating caution.
“This is not an unusual number at this time of year, but pet owners should make sure their indoor cats are vaccinated,” Animal and Rabies Control Administrator Dr. Donna Alexander said in a statement. “The small brown bat is the major carrier of rabies in Illinois and is small enough to enter a home through a crack or small opening.”
According to the county’s data, 23 bats tested positive for the disease in 2016.
On Wednesday, officials issued an alert after a kitten tested positive for rabies in Carroll County, but further testing showed that the kitten wasn’t infected with the disease.
Even still, the county is offering low-cost rabies shots for both cats and dogs as they look to keep any potential issue at bay.
A number of low-cost rabies vaccine clinics are available throughout Cook County, with shots costing $7 for both dogs and cats. A three-year dose of the vaccine costs $21, and a full list and schedule of clinics is available on the county’s website.