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The US government confirmed on Friday in a statement and said that world’s first case of COVID-19 detected in deer, expanding the list of animals known to have tested positive for the disease.
According to a statement the US Department of Agriculture reported traces of SARS-CoV-2 in wild white-tailed deer in the state of Ohio, There were no reports of deer showing symptoms of infection.
“We do not know how the deer were exposed to SARS-CoV-2,” USDA spokeswoman Lyndsay Cole wrote in an e-mail to news agency. “It’s possible they were exposed through people, the environment, other deer, or another animal species.”
The USDA has previously reported COVID-19 in animals including dogs, cats, tigers, lions, snow leopards, otters, gorillas and minks.
Worldwide, most animal infections were reported in species that had close contact with a person with COVID-19, according to the agency.
The USDA reported last month that white-tailed deer populations in Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania were exposed to SARS-CoV-2, based on a study that analyzed serum samples from free-ranging deer for antibodies to the disease.
According to the statement, Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine collected samples from the infected deer in Ohio from January to March as part of ongoing studies, the USDA said. The samples were presumed to be positive for COVID-19 in university tests, and the cases were confirmed at USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories.