Wild U.S. deer found with coronavirus antibodies
A new study detected coronavirus antibodies in 40 percent of deer tested this year. Here’s why that matters.
White-tailed deer, a species found in every U.S. state except Alaska, appear to be contracting the coronavirus in the wild, according to the first study to search for evidence of an outbreak in wild deer.
Researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) analyzed blood samples from more than 600 deer in Michigan, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania over the past decade, and they discovered that 152 wild deer, 40 percent of the deer tested from January through March 2021, had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Another three deer from January 2020 also had antibodies.
Their presence means that deer likely had encountered the virus and then fought it off. The animals didn’t appear sick,