Data from federal authorities say Maine is on pace to see its highest number of confirmed rabies cases in five years.

Maine has seen 19 confirmed cases in the first quarter of the year, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Maine saw five cases during the period last year.

According to the Portland Press Herald, there were 31 for the whole year. A regional wildlife biologist for the state Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife  says the mild winter is a likely reason for the increase in rabies cases.

All 19 of the cases this year have involved skunks and raccoons. Foxes and bats might also carry it. The last human case in Maine was in 1997. It was fatal. (AP/Sun Journal)