A new study reveals how humans can transmit the COVID-19 virus to deer

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

This story has been corrected to correct a misquote.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A new study by Penn State University reveals how people can infect white-tail deer with the coronavirus.

Penn State researchers say there are various ways humans can transmit the virus to deer.

“And sometimes it’s not just people alone, but activities like feeding the deer or a hunter chewing tobacco and spitting in the fields all of those activities can expose the deer to the virus and that’s what we believe has happened,” Dr. Suresh Kuchipudi said.

A primary concern researchers share is that, once deer have the virus they could spread it among other wildlife which can keep the virus alive.

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“There is not just human to deer transmission but also deer to deer transmission,” Kuchipudi said.

Educators say this new study that was conducted in Iowa found that more than 80% of the white-tailed deer had tested positive for the virus.

They say it’s possible, that as COVID circulates among wildlife, it could mutate, then infect people. However, unlike humans who can show various signs connected to the coronavirus, infected deer don’t show symptoms.

“An important aspect to remember is that based on the studies that we know so far, deer infected with COVID-19 virus they do not show any clinical symptoms even if we come across a deer that looks perfectly normal may have the virus,” Kuchipudi said.

Vivek Kapur, Huck Distinguished Chair in Global Health and professor of microbiology and infectious diseases at Penn State recommends hunters to mask up and get vaccinated which will help these numbers will reduce the spread of the virus.

Despite researchers’ belief that there is not a current risk of catching COVID from deer folks are urged to cook venison properly.

To see more of this study click here.

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