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Researchers believe deer are contracting coronavirus from humans

There's currently no evidence that deer can transmit the virus to humans, but researchers say deer have the potential to be a reservoir for the virus to continually circulate.

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There is concern about coronavirus in deer.

Researchers at Penn State University found some white-tailed deer tested positive for the virus that can lead to COVID-19 and they believe the deer are contracting it from humans.

"As long as the virus circulates in humans, it is also spilling into animals," Penn State biologist Suresh Kuchipudi said.

Between December 2020 and January 2021, Penn State researchers found 80% of white-tailed deer sampled in Iowa tested positive for the virus.

"White-tailed deer are highly susceptible and all it takes is to come in contact with a small amount of virus from humans, and they can be infected," Kuchipudi said.

While the deer can spread the virus to each other, researchers said, there is currently no evidence that deer can transmit the virus to humans.

But researchers said white-tailed deer have the potential to be a reservoir for the virus to continually circulate. This may potentially create new strains of the virus that could be a threat to other wildlife and humans, according to researchers.

"Everyone should seriously consider vaccination. It will not only protect all of us, it is also critical to protect our environment and the animals we love," Kuchipudi said.

Even though there's no evidence the virus is being transmitted from the deer to humans, researchers said it's always important to take precautions when handling game since any wild animal can carry diseases or harmful bacteria.