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(WBIR-Rockwood) While the wilderness is steps away from the neighborhoods in Rockwood, police say it's still an odd case. Diseased raccoons have been discovered, and they could have rabies.

"There's not an epidemic, however you need to be cautious of any wild animals -- particularly raccoons," said Rockwood Police Chief Danny Wright.

They discovered three raccoons that were foaming at the mouth in the last few weeks. Chief Wright said it's the first time they've discovered potentially rabid animals in the wild.

Rabies could transfer from animals to humans -- affecting the nervous system. Not treated, rabies could be fatal.

"Talked to TWRA. There is a distemper going around. So they believe it may be distemper instead of rabies," the chief added.

Residents have been notified of the potential risk. The city has also been doing more to keep the animals at bay. Garbage men have been on double-time, watching for any trash that could attract raccoons. Police have also been keeping an eye out too.

"We're not out here looking on 'raccoon patrol,'" said Wright. "What we're doing is doing our normal duties and responding to calls for assistance, and that's why we asked for assistance from the public."

So far, there have been no reported rabies or distemper cases in Roane County.

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