(FOX Carolina) - Researchers found coronavirus antibodies in a third of white tailed deer populations from four states, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
APHIS said from January 2020 through 2021, samples were collected as part of wildlife damage management activities conducted in Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. Results show antibodies to COVID-19 were detected in 33% of the 481 samples.
The agency noted that this survey was designed to determine exposure of deer to coronavirus in their natural environment and not whether the deer were replicating and shedding coronavirus.
APHIS said it is working closely with federal and state partners, including the Department of the Interior, the CDC, and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, to determine next steps.