Study: White-tailed deer being infected with SARS-CoV-2

16 November 2021.


A new study from US shows that white-tailed deer are being infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19 in humans.


  • During the study, Antibodies were found in 40% of deer. They were tested in between January to March 2021 across Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York state.
  • A similar unpublished study also detected virus in 80% of deer in Iowa in between November 2020 to January 2021.
  • Considering the high level of infections, researchers concluded that, deer are actively transmitting the virus to one another.
  • Researchers also identified different SARS-CoV-2 variants, which suggests that there have been several human-to-deer infections.

How white-tailed deer got infected?

  • Large numbers of white-tailed deer in North America got infected with the virus because they often live close to people, providing opportunities to the virus to transmit between both the species.
  • People often get involved in wildlife management operations, recreation, field research, tourism and hunting.
  • However, it is also being suggested that water sources contaminated with covid-19 virus might provide a pathway for transmission.

White-tailed deer

  • The white-tailed deer is scientifically called as Odocoileus virginianus.
  • It is also called as whitetail or Virginia deer.
  • The deer is a medium-sized and is native to North America, Ecuador, Central America, Peru, South America, and Bolivia.
  • It has also been introduced to New Zealand, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Hispaniola as well as some countries in Europe like Finland, Czech Republic, Romania, France, Germany, and Serbia.

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