For the first time, researchers have uncovered evidence that Covid-19 readily infects the most abundant species of deer in North America and that those deer subsequently infect each other. The infected white-tailed deer were found in six clusters in Northeast Ohio last winter.
Of the 360 nasal swabs examined, 129 came back positive for the same variants of Covid-19, predominantly infecting humans in the area simultaneously. Andrew Bowman, DVM, Ph.D., associate professor of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University in Columbus, said that not only did they detect the presence of the virus with (the) PCR (test), but they were able to grow viable virus from the samples.
Bowman also added that they have a wildlife reservoir that can maintain the virus then we have to consider the virus evolution that might occur within that host. The new mutants, new variants that arise in the deer might potentially spill back into humans at some point in time. Bowman’s group did see Covid mutations occur in the deer. But they were in line with mutations seen in humans.