COLUMBIA, Mo. – The USDA today confirmed the first SARS-CoV-2 infection in wild white-tailed deer. These are the first deer confirmed with the virus worldwide.
The National Veterinary Services Laboratories joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture in today’s announcement. The deer came out of Ohio.
Officials did add that previous studies found that deer can be experimentally infected with the virus. They also previously learned that some wild deer had antibodies to the virus.
According to the USDA, there is no evidence of deer dying from it or humans contracting it from eating venison. The USDA is still learning about SARS-CoV-2 in animals. Based on the information available, the agency says the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is considered to be low.
Samples from the deer tested presumptive positive at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The University collected them between January and March 2021 as part of ongoing deer damage management activities. They didn’t report any deer showing clinical signs of infection.
SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.
Organizations and agencies have reported SARS-CoV-2 in a small number of animal species worldwide. The infections were mostly in animals that had close contact with a person with COVID-19. According to the USDA, at this time, they don’t recommend routine testing of animals.
State, Tribal, local and territorial animal health and public health officials plan to work with the USDA and CDC to determine if animals should be tested. They are using a One Health approach to make the determination.
Missouri: Covid in deer
The Missouri Department of Conservation plans to test hundreds of deer for the coronavirus. They will test deer killed this upcoming hunting season.
The Missouri Department of Conservation’s website states that deer hunting season for archery has already started. It runs through November 12, 2021.
Youth hunters can hunt with firearms in Missouri starting October 30, 2021. The firearm season for adult hunters starts on November 13, 2021.
USDA Covid in Deer results
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported the results of a federal study testing white-tailed deer in Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania.
Samples showed at least 7% of the population having antibodies for the virus that causes COVID-19. The highest population showed 67% in Michigan.
The USDA report shows that although deer were carrying the antibodies, none of them actually fell ill.
The department will announce cases of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 in animals when it’s found in a new species. They will post confirmed cases in animals here.
People with COVID and Animals
According to the USDA, people with COVID-19 can spread the virus to animals during close contact. “It is important for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to avoid contact with pets and other animals to protect them from possible infection,” states the agency.
You can find more information on how to prevent the spread of Covid between people and wildlife here.
The CDC also provides information on COVID-19 in aminals and recommendations for pet owners. You can find that here.
Should you test your animals? The CDC and USDA have also provided that information on their websites.
KOAM has more articles related to the coronavirus at KOAMNewsNow.com/coronavirus.
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