COVID-19 virus found in 3 Quebec deer, Canadian officials say – .

COVID-19 virus found in 3 Quebec deer, Canadian officials say – .

Three deer in Quebec have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada, which means the disease not only affects humans, but Canadian wildlife as well.

The National Center for Foreign Animal Diseases of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed the first detections of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, on November 29, according to a press release from the federal government .

The three white-tailed deer were found in the Estrie region of Quebec and represent the first time that the disease has been detected in wild animals in Canada.

“Similar to the findings in the United States, the deer showed no clinical signs of disease and were all apparently healthy,” according to the press release.

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Previous research has found deer in several states in the northern United States to test positive for the virus. Studies have indicated man-to-deer and roe-deer-to-deer transmission.

A US Department of Agriculture study found antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in 40% of 385 wild deer they sampled in 2021 in four states: New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Illinois. These antibodies suggest that the deer were exposed to COVID-19 at some point, the researchers wrote.

However, according to the Canadian Department of the Environment, “there has been no known transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from deer to humans at present.”

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Still, the department is urging hunters – who could come in contact with deer – to take precautions.

“It is recommended that you wear a properly fitted mask when exposed to respiratory tissues and deer fluids, practice good hand hygiene and avoid splashing / spraying fluids from these tissues as much as possible,” wrote the Department.

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SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to infect many animals, the department noted, “including farmed mink, pets (eg, cats, dogs, ferrets) and pets. zoo (eg, tigers, lions, gorillas, cougars, otters, and others). “

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In previous interviews with Global News on U.S. research, Canadian scientists have expressed concern that deer may be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

“Any disease that affects multiple species, we cannot eradicate,” said Scott Weese, infectious disease veterinarian at the Ontario Veterinary College and director of the Center for Public Health and Zoonoses.

Jeff Bowman, a wildlife science researcher with the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, told Global News that Canadians are looking for the possibility that wildlife, including deer, can become a “reservoir” for SARS-CoV-2.

“If the virus circulates in the population of wild animals, then it can persist in that population and become a source of reinfection in humans,” he said.

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Weese noted that it was also possible that a virus circulating in animals could lead to new variants – although he said this was unlikely to cause more harmful disease in humans.

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“The more they transmit, the more they mutate because the more they replicate, the more random errors can occur,” he said. “And when they move to a different species, maybe it’s more likely to happen because they adapt a bit to that species.” “

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