Deer catch COVID in these four states

A study by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) showed that white-tailed deer in four states have been exposed to the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The results, to be released Tuesday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States, showed that 40 percent of white-tailed deer – the most common deer in North America – tested in four states by 2021 were positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, which means that they had been exposed to the virus at some point.

These states were Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania. However, previous studies showed that deer in other states have also been exposed to the virus. All in all, the research from the studies raises the question of whether animal interactions with humans can increase the spread of COVID-19.

deer
A new study showed that white-tailed deer in four US states have been exposed to coronavirus. This image shows a white-tailed deer eating leaves in front of a home in Bethesda, Maryland, on May 27, 2020.
Daniel Slim / AFP via Getty Images

Between January and March 2021, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service tested 481 deer in the four states for the study. Michigan had the highest percentage of positive samples at 67 percent. The lowest percentage (7 percent) of deer with COVID antibodies was recorded in Illinois.

The USDA noted that none of the deer in the study showed any clinical symptoms of coronavirus.

The board also did not reach a conclusion on how the deer was exposed to the virus.

“It is possible that they were exposed through humans, the environment, other deer or another animal species,” the USDA wrote.

Meanwhile, a separate recent study of white-tailed deer in Iowa found that up to 80 percent of those tested had been infected with coronavirus. The study, conducted by veterinary microbiologists at Penn State University, said the animals probably contracted the virus from humans before spreading it to each other.

“It effectively emerged in all parts of the state,” said Suresh Kuchipudi, who led the investigation with Vivek Kapur. New York Times in early November. “We were amazed.”

While these studies found antibodies in deer, the USDA had already announced in August that Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine found white-tailed deer in Ohio that tested positive for the virus. The USDA claimed that these were the first deer to be confirmed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus worldwide.

Scott Weese, a veterinary specialist in infectious diseases at Ontario Veterinary College and director of the Center for Public Health and Zoonoses, told Global News that most people do not have to worry about being infected with deer.

He said, however, that people who work with farmed deer should be careful, just like hunters.

“A wounded deer breathing and they’re getting close to who could do it,” Weese told Global News.

Leave a Comment

Advertise