RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The first deer in North Carolina has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission announced Thursday.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Iowa confirmed the case, officials said in a release.

According to the release, “the deer was harvested in northern Yadkin County in December 2021.”

The Wildlife Resources Commission said it collected more than 7,200 samples in the past season after CWD was discovered in a deer close to the North Carolina/Virginia border in 2021.

“We are appreciative of all the cooperating taxidermists, meat processors and hunters that have helped us with our CWD surveillance,” said Brad Howard, chief of Wildlife Commission’s Wildlife Management Division. “Their diligence helped us to detect the presence of CWD now, which is much better than if the disease had gone undetected. Now that we know the disease is in North Carolina we will implement our CWD Response Plan to help slow the spread of CWD while preserving our deer herd and deer hunting tradition.”

Although this is the first confirmed case, officials said they have currently “received results from 60% of all samples submitted.”

Officials said now that a positive CWD case has been confirmed, they will continue following the CWD Response Plan.

“Although the detection of CWD is bad news, we have been preparing for this possibility for decades. Our long-term goal is to protect our deer herd and our deer hunting culture. Achieving that goal means we must work with our constituents to implement our response plan and refine our long-term management strategy,” said Howard. “We’ve been in contact with wildlife professionals in other states that are already CWD-positive to learn from their experiences. Adapting to CWD is going to be a challenge for everyone, but I’m confident that our staff and North Carolina deer hunters can do it.”

Officials stressed the importance of continued testing now that the disease has been detected.

For more information on CWD, click here.