Halton Region health officials are reminding residents to avoid contact with wild animals after bats with rabies were found in Burlington and Oakville.

These were the first two confirmed cases of rabies in the region this year, said the Halton Region Health Department in a press release.

On Wednesday, health officials said they found a bat was found in the area of Upper Middle Road and Cavendish Driver in Burlington. Another bat was found in the area of Lake Shore Road and Bronte Road in Oakville

“The Health Department is reminding residents to avoid all contact with bats and other wild animals,” said Halton Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hamidah Meghani.

Rabies, which is spread through the saliva of an infected animal through a bite or scratch, is a viral disease that causes damage to the brain and spinal cord.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada early rabies symptoms include chills, fever, headace, loss of appetite.

The agency also stated that a person can feel pain, tingling, or numbness around the area where the animal bit, scratched, or licked.

Health officials said if left untreated before symptoms appear, it can lead to death.

Rabid bats may move slowly, lose the ability to fly, remain active during daylight, or become unresponsive to loud noises.

“Anyone who comes in physical contact with a bat or other wild animal should see a physician immediately and contact the Health Department,” said Dr. Meghani.

Residents who may have had physical contact with a bat are advised to contact the Health Department by calling 311.

According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, there have been seven rabies cases so far in 2019.

Last week, Peel health officials found the region's first confirmed bat with rabies in Brampton.