BATH — A fox that was killed by a pair of dogs in Bath on Friday has tested positive for rabies.

The dogs killed the fox at property on Bayshore Road, police said. The dead animal was taken to the Maine Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory in Augusta and tested positive for rabies.

The dogs will be re-vaccinated because of their exposure to the disease and quarantined as necessary, police said.

There was a significant increase in the number of rabies cases in 2018, with 101 animals testing positive in Maine, which is the most in a single year in more than a decade, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said. There were 67 confirmed cases of rabid animals in Maine in 2017.

Many of the reports in 2018 came from the Midcoast, with nine of those incidents occurring in Brunswick, and two in Bath. So far in 2019, two other animals have tested positive for rabies – one in Palmyra and another in New Gloucester.

Rabies is a viral disease that is often transmitted through bites and scratches, usually because of exposure to infected saliva. The disease attacks the brain and can cause erratic or aggressive behavior in the infected animal and can ultimately lead to death.

“We continue to urge the public to keep their pets up to date on their rabies vaccinations,” Police Chief Michael Field said in a statement. “If you see anything unusual or your pets have had any exposure to wildlife, please call your animal control officer and your veterinarian.”

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