LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan officials say they're seeing higher numbers of bats with rabies.

The Department of Health and Human Services says its labs had diagnosed 22 bats with the fatal illness as of June 28. A year ago, the total was nine.

Two rabid skunks also have turned up.

Rabies is a viral disease transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal. Bats and skunks are the most common carriers in Michigan.

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In 2017, the state had 38 cases of rabies in animals, including 35 bats, two skunks and one cat.

Officials say residents should take steps to protect themselves during warm-weather months, when bats are most active as they search for food and rear their young.

They advise avoiding contact with wild animals and reporting those that appear sick.

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