The number of rabid animals found in Ontario ticked upward last month to its highest level of the year thus far.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says there were 18 positive tests for the virus last month.

The tally includes nine rabid raccoons, seven skunks, one bat and one red fox. The fox was found in the Wallenstein area, marking Waterloo Region’s first diagnosed case of rabies in several years.

Eighteen positive tests is the most in Ontario in one month since November 2016.

Public health authorities have been on heightened alert for the rabies virus since December 2015, when a rabid raccoon got into a fight with two dogs in the back of an animal control van in Hamilton.

Since then, there have been dozens of cases of raccoon-strain rabies reported in and around Hamilton, including in Brant County and Caledonia.

There have also been several cases of fox-strain rabies in the Huron-Perth area.