Studies have been done that indicate that white-tailed deer in four states have tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. Although not all white-tailed deer have presented with the antibodies, about thirty percent have. What does this mean for the deer population in New York and should we be worried that they are carriers?

The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) conducted testing of white-tailed deer in Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York. They found that the white-tailed deer tested, through blood samples, had coronavirus antibodies which means they had been exposed to the coronavirus. This does not mean that they were sick but only exposed through other humans, animals, or water sources according to News 10 ABC.

Michigan had the highest rate of white-tailed deer with the coronavirus antibodies at sixty percent where New York state had a thirty-three percent rate. The study was conducted from January 2020 through 2021. The percentage did increase to forty percent for the study that started in 2021.

The white-tailed deer that were in the study did not show any signs of critical illness. It is concerning to the researchers that because they have coronavirus antibodies they may create a virus reservoir in the animal populations that could infect humans.

The APHIS and is working closely with the CDC and the Department of the Interior along with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to understand and take the next steps as they are battling the spread of the new delta variant.

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