COVID-19: New study reveals significant spread of virus among deer population

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A new study has found widespread COVID-19 infections among deer populations in Iowa.

Penn State University researchers have found that more than 80% of whitetail deer sampled in parts of Iowa between December 2020 and January 2021 were positive for COVID-19, according to a university announcement on Wednesday, November 3. . .

“We found that 80% of the deer sampled in December were positive for SARS-CoV-2, which is proportionately about a 50-fold greater burden of positivity than what was reported at the peak of infection in the man at the time, “said Suresh Kuchipudi, Huck Chair in Emerging Infectious Diseases and associate director of the Penn State Animal Diagnostic Laboratory. “The number of SARS-CoV-2 positive deer increased during the period April to December 2020, with the largest increases coinciding with the peak of the deer hunting season last year.”

The study found that the percentage of deer testing positive for COVID-19 increased over time, and 33% of all deer tested positive throughout the study, the university said.

According to Vivek Kapur, Huck Distinguished Chair in Global Health and professor of microbiology and infectious diseases at Penn State, there is no evidence to date that COVID-19 can be transmitted from deer to humans.

However, Kapur added that he believes hunters and those who live near deer might want to take precautions, including getting vaccinated against COVID.

“The results suggest that white-tailed deer may be a reservoir for the virus to circulate continuously and raise concerns about the emergence of new strains that could pose a threat to wildlife and possibly humans,” according to the university announcement. .

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