Study Shows COVID-19 Evolving in Ohio Deer

Jake Wells

According to a study conducted by the Ohio State University, it has been revealed that white-tailed deer in Ohio have contracted COVID-19.

As part of the study, published Monday in Nature Weekly, scientists collected more than 1,500 nasal swabs from free-ranging deer in 83 counties in 2021 and 2022. Of these samples, more than 10% came back positive for the COVID-19 virus, and at least one positive case was found in 59% of the counties where the study took place.

Researchers expressed concern over the discovery of 30 cases that were determined to have been transmitted by humans. OSU Associate Professor of Veterinary Preventive Medicine Andrew Bowman said this is not common. "Interspecies transmission as a rare event," Bowman said, "but this wasn’t a huge sampling, and we’re able to document 30 spillovers. It seems to be moving between people and animals quite easily, and the evidence is growing that humans can get it from deer, which isn’t radically surprising. It’s probably not a one-way pipeline."

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