The American Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has found traces of coronavirus in American deer.
Specialists from the US National Wildlife Service have found antibodies to coronavirus in several white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).
During the work, the authors studied 385 blood samples of white-tailed deer and compared them with the data obtained earlier. It turned out that about 40% of the individuals had antibodies. Moreover, the concentration was so high that it was possible to draw a conclusion not about accidental contact with the pathogen, but about the transferred COVID-19.
Percentages varied by state:
- the largest in Michigan (60%),
- the smallest in Illinois (7%).
Moreover, the animals showed no symptoms of the disease. The researchers also tested blood samples from deer collected before the pandemic to make sure they hadn’t previously had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.
Scientists continue to study ungulates to understand the likelihood of new outbreaks of coronavirus infection among them, as well as the typical severity of its symptoms, is critically important for understanding whether white-tailed deer and their close relatives will become a reservoir for new varieties of the virus.