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White-tailed deer turns out to be a huge storehouse of coronavirus infections




A new study in the United States shows that white-tailed deer are infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.The antibody was found in 40% of deer Tested in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York from January to March 2021. Second unpublished study The virus was detected in 80% of deer sampled in Iowa between November 2020 and January 2021.

With such high levels of infection, researchers conclude that deer are actively infecting each other with the virus. Scientists have also identified various SARS-CoV-2 mutants, suggesting that there were many human-to-deer transmissions.

The fact that North America is home to a large number of white-tailed deer and often lives close to people provides several opportunities for the disease to move between the two species. This includes wildlife management activities, field research, recreation, tourism and hunting. In fact, hunters treat dead animals on a regular basis, which can be one of the most obvious causes of potential reinfection. A water source contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 Transmission route, Although this has not been proven yet.

A woman close to a white-tailed deer.
There are many ways in which the virus can spread from humans to deer.
Volodymyr TVERDOKHLIB / Shutterstock

Human-to-deer and deer-to-deer transmission is believed to promote the rapid spread of the disease within white-tailed deer populations throughout the United States. This is especially apparent during the first few months of 2021, when COVID infections were booming in the population. Previous studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted from humans to livestock and captive animals. cat dog, Zoo animals, and most notably Cultured mink.. However, until now, the disease has not been shown to spread to wildlife species.

White-tailed deer is the most abundant large mammal in North America, and its range is From Canada to South America..It is estimated that the U.S. population alone is large 30 million animals.. They are social species that live in family groups of 2-12 individuals and can thrive in a variety of habitats, including: City parks and forests..

These aspects of their ecology and behavior have made them of particular concern regarding the spread of the disease, including: Bovine tuberculosis When Chronic wasting disease.. These pathogens already have significant impacts on the health of wildlife and livestock around the world.

Findings from these latest studies have raised concerns that white-tailed deer may be a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2. Not only can this easily infect a large number of animals, but even more worrisome, it can be leaked to humans.

This type of infection cycle Infected mink farm, That eventually led to the Danish government euthanizing their entire captive population 17 million animals.. It is important to emphasize that there is currently no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from white-tailed deer to humans. Early studies also suggest that infected deer tend to be asymptomatic. Still, the transmission of the disease in wildlife populations is Human and animal health..

Potential source of new variants

Viral mutations in reservoir hosts such as white-tailed deer can lead to new variants of the disease. These mutants can lead to increased infection rates, increased pathogenicity (severity of symptoms), and may prove to be more effective in evading the human immune system. Similarly, reinfection from wildlife reservoirs can complicate our long-term efforts to combat and control disease.

Influenza, which easily flies between birds, humans, and other mammals (especially pigs), has caused similar problems.Reservoir of these multiple diseases can lead to the emergence of new strains in which humans have lower immunity, as in the case of 2009 swine flu..

It is important to note that these studies are limited, both in terms of the methods used and the limited geographic extent of the study.The latest unpublished study used the latest genetic approach to reliably detect SARS-CoV-2 in tissue samples, but only focused on it. To the deer of Iowa..Antibody tests in the first study were conducted in four states, but animals Exposed to virus.. However, the combined findings have highlighted that SARS-CoV-2 infection is likely to be widespread in white-tailed deer.

There is still much we need to learn about COVID and deer development. The most important topics to focus on include understanding how the virus is transmitted from humans to deer and determining the risk of spreading it to human populations. Studies have been conducted to assess the risks posed to humans by this potential reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 and the potential for transmission of the virus to other wildlife species with which deer interact, such as predators and scavengers. Urgently needed.




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