Scientists find COVID-19 in 35% of deer sampled in Northeast Ohio

Scientists find COVID-19 in 35% of deer sampled in Northeast Ohio (Source: Pixabay)
Scientists find COVID-19 in 35% of deer sampled in Northeast Ohio (Source: Pixabay)
Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 12:33 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Scientists have found three variants of COVID-19 within deer in Ohio, according to a study published Thursday.

According to a news release from Ohio State University, researchers took swab samples from hundreds of free-ranging white-tailed deer in nine locations across Northeast Ohio.

Of the 360 deer tested, about 35% were positive for genetic material from at least three different COVID-19 strains.

The research is ongoing and it’s currently unclear how the deer caught COVID-19; it’s possible they drank contaminated water, according to the release.

The potential of deer-to-human transmission is also unknown.

The sample collection took place from Jan. to March of 2021, according to the release, and showed the variants infecting deer matched up with variants infecting COVID patients from the same time period.

Scientists will continue testing for new and old variants, according to the release.

The release said research focused on locations close to dense human populations and is not representative of all free-ranging deer.

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