LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala (WHNT) — The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) says a third case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) had been be found in Lauderdale County.

ADCNR said that the case was confirmed in a white-tailed deer harvested by a hunter in Lauderdale County. The case is the first since two cases were detected in Lauderdale County in early 2022.

Since the first CWD-positive deer was detected in January 2022, all of the Lauderdale and Colbert Counties were designated as a CWD Management Zone (CMZ) and ADCNR held mandatory testing weekends for deer killed in the zone along with asking hunters to voluntarily get deer tested outside of those weekend.

ADCNR said that samples were collected from more than 3,500 white-tailed deer harvested statewide with 1,100 of those samples collected from the CMZ. The department said 98% of all samples within the CMZ have been tested and currently only one positive case of CWD has been detected this season.

ADCNR said the positive sample was voluntarily submitted by a hunter as part of the ongoing monitoring effort.

ADNCR Commissioner Chris Blankenship thanked local hunters for their overwhelming support of the sampling program.

“As they have been in the past few years, hunters will continue to be our most important partners in the management of this disease as we move forward with future deer seasons,” he said. “We also thank the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries for their continued partnership with statewide CWD monitoring. Their assistance testing the samples allows us to better serve our constituents by providing them with timely information on the distribution and extent of CWD in Alabama.”

CWD is a progressive fatal disease that affects deer, elk and moose. the disease commonly results in altered behavior due to microscopic changes to affect animal brains. An animal can carry the disease for years without outward indication but in its later stages CWD can cause listlessness, lowering of the head, weight loss, repetitive walking in set patterns and a lack of responsiveness