It seems that the coronavirus has infected a lot of Iowa’s deer, posing risks of the virus possibly mutating among the animals and then infiltrating the human population in an altered version, according to a new study.
The results of the study suggest that deer have the potential to become a major reservoir host for the coronavirus.
It’s unclear how deer picked up the coronavirus from humans and then spread it among themselves. All of this is an example that we’re all in this pandemic together.
On Tuesday, Iowa Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Tammie Krausman had claimed that her agency is not recommending specific precautions due to the findings of the study.
DNR recommends that hunters keep hunting, and with standard precautions mostly used while processing venison, such as wearing gloves and thoroughly cooking the meat, the risk of exposure can be reduced. As of now, there have been no instances of contracting COVID-19 from consuming food, including hunted wild meat.
The new study focuses on deer in Iowa; however, it may apply to deer elsewhere.
The new study was conducted by researchers at Penn State University, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Iowa State University.
The researchers tested lymph-node samples from 283 deer that were hunted, hit by vehicles, or harvested at game farms from April 2020 into January 2021. Out of them, 33% had been infected with the coronavirus. The infections seemed to have become more widespread as the pandemic worsened among humans last year. Out of 97 samples obtained from deer between Nov. 23, 2020, and Jan. 10, 2021, 83% contained the coronavirus, according to the study.