CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County officials are urging residents to vaccinate their pets because 18 bats have tested positive for rabies in Cook County so far this year.

A kitten in Carroll County that was initially thought to have contracted rabies has now tested negative, Illinois Department of Public Health spokesperson Melaney Arnold said Wednesday, correcting an earlier report from Cook County Animal and Rabies Control.

“Finding rabies in cats is unusual and Cook County Animal and Rabies Control wants to make sure all domestic animals are protected against the disease, which can be fatal,” Animal and Rabies Control Administrator Dr. Donna Alexander said in the statement. “Pet owners should not panic, but should take precaution to protect their pets.”

Officials said the number of reported cases was not unusual for this point in the year, and that a total of 23 bats tested positive for rabies in Cook County last year. Animal control is advising residents to be cautious around stray animals and wildlife and keep pets from roaming outside to limit exposure to rabies.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2016. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)