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Surveillance Data Shows White-Tailed Deer Exposed to SARS-CoV-2


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recently completed a study that analyzed serum samples from free-ranging white-tailed deer for antibodies to COVID-19.

Results of the study indicate certain white-tailed deer populations in Illinois were exposed to SARS-Co-V-2.

Samples were obtained as part of wildlife damage management activities across 32 counties in Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania.

Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 33% of the 481 samples collected from January 2020 through 2021. None of the deer populations surveyed showed signs of clinical illness associated with the virus that causes COVID-19. In Illinois, 7 percent of 101 samples contained antibodies.

The USDA says it’s possible they were exposed through people, the environment, other deer, or another animal species.

There is no evidence that animals, including deer, are playing a significant role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 to people.

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