WASHINGTON — The United States Department of Agriculture said Friday that some deer in Ohio have been found to carry SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine collected samples from the infected animals between January and March of this year, the USDA said. Officials didn't say what area of Ohio the samples were collected from.
"These are the first deer confirmed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus worldwide, although earlier studies have shown both that deer can be experimentally infected with the virus and that some wild deer had antibodies to the virus," the USDA said.
Deer aren't the first animals to have contracted the virus, but government health officials said the risk of animals spreading the virus to humans is low.
The virus can spread to deer and other animals through close contact with someone infected with COVID-19. People with the virus are urged to stay away from pets and other animals.
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