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(Ann Froschauer / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

So far this year, nearly a dozen bats have tested positive for rabies in Cook and Will counties alone.

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Pet owners should not panic, local health officials say, but take precautions after a rabid kitten was found in Carroll County.

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(Ann Froschauer / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Cook County Department of Public Health officials are reminding residents that bats become active this time of year, which means the possibility of exposure to rabies is increasing.

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The Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control is urging pet owners to vaccinate their cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies after two outdoor cats tested positive for the virus in Illinois and Missouri.

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(Ann Froschauer / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Six bats found in Cook County that were reported to local authorities this year, including three in Chicago, have tested positive for rabies, the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control (CCDARC) said Thursday.