Coronavirus Infection Found in White-Tailed Deer
White-tailed deer have been found to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, according to new research from the United States.
Antibodies were discovered in 40% of deer tested in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York between January and March 2021.
The virus was found in 80% of deer samples collected in Iowa between November 2020 and January 2021, according to a second, unpublished study.
The researchers concluded that deer are actively transmitting the virus to one another due to the high levels of infection.
The researchers also discovered multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants, implying that many human-to-deer infections have occurred.
Because of the large number of white-tailed deer in North America and the fact that they frequently live close to humans, the disease has several opportunities to spread between the two species.
Wildlife management operations, field research, recreation, tourism, and hunting are all examples of this.
Hunters, in particular, are likely to be one of the most obvious sources of potential reinfection because they handle dead animals on a regular basis.
Water sources contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 have also been suggested as a possible route of transmission, but this has yet to be proven.
Human-to-deer and deer-to-deer transmission are thought to be driving the disease’s rapid spread in white-tailed deer populations across the United States. This was especially evident in the early months of 2021, when COVID infections in humans were at an all-time high.
SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted from humans to domestic and captive animals such as cats, dogs, zoo animals, and, most notably, farmed mink, according to previous research.
However, the disease had not been shown to spread in wildlife species until now.
With a range that stretches from Canada to South America, white-tailed deer are the most common large mammal in North America.
There are an estimated 30 million animals in the United States alone.
They are a social species that lives in family groups of two to twelve people and can thrive in a variety of environments, including urban parks and woodland.
Because of these characteristics of their ecology and behavior, they are a species of particular concern for the spread of diseases such as bovine tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease.
These pathogens have had a significant impact on the health of wild and domestic animal populations all over the world.
The findings of these recent studies have sparked fears that white-tailed deer are becoming extinct.
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