Michigan Deer Found With Antibodies From COVID-19
You may have heard about animals in the zoo and peoples pets catching COVID-19, now antibodies from the virus have been found in the Michigan deer population.
For years now hunters have had to deal with Chronic Wasting Disease found in the Michigan deer herd which has led to a lot of deer dying because of the disease. Some areas of the state where deer herds had CWD so bad, hunters were not allowed to even hunt those areas. Plus you can't eat a deer harvested that has CWD.
Four states, which includes Michigan, have tested deer for COVID-19 and all four found that some of the deer at one time had the virus because there were antibodies present in their system.
According to WOOD, the U.S. Department of Agriculture ran tests on 481 deer. 113 of those deer were here in Michigan and 67% of those deer tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.
I am an avid deer hunter, to the point where I'm usually doing something all year long in preparation for the next season, and was shocked to learn that some Michigan deer somehow caught the coronavirus. Deer are hard enough to get close to when hunting let along wild deer having any contact with humans is highly unusual.
The other 3 states that did testing on deer were Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania. 101 deer were tested in Illinois and 7% tested positive for antibodies. New York tested 68 deer and 19% tested positive for antibodies. Pennsylvania tested the most deer with 199 and 31% came back positive for antibodies.
These deer are all geographically far a part so the deer probably have all caught COVID-19 a variety of ways but right now, that is still a mystery on how deer may have been infected.
Now this doesn't mean all the deer in Michigan have either had or still have COVID-19. It just means, out of the test group, 67% tested positive for antibodies from the virus. Michigan would have to do testing in different parts of the state to see if COVID-19 affected more areas of the state.
All scientists know right now is that some deer at some point have had COVID-19 and they are not sure if the virus is still spreading in the herd.
Scientists are trying to figure how the deer have been infected and if the infections will have any impact on the human population.
Researchers don't know if the deer caught it from people who have been known to hand feed wild deer, surfaces touched by humans or those who put out feed for the wild animals may have touched the feeds surface who had COVID-19 and it spread to the herd that way.
So far the USDA doesn't believe hunting season will be impacted in anyway because COVID-19 has been found in deer since there is no evidence that humans can catch COVID-19 by eating livestock or wild game that may have had the virus at one time.
Certainly if deer have tested positive as well as animals at the zoo and peoples pets, it is highly likely that cattle and other live stock that does come in contact with humans will also be found to have antibodies in them as well.
Scientists will continue there research on the deer herd while the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will now have to keep an eye on the problem as well. It's just too soon for the DNR to be able to answer any questions.
Most hunters wear a mask to hunt to hide their face, now it might be a protective device in the wild.
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