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- A similar unpublished study also detected virus in 80% of deer in Iowa in between November 2020 to January 2021.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.
- 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.