Can I Catch COVID-19 or Its Variants from Animals?

Based on the information that has been derived from numerous studies to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 or its variants is considered to be low – but not impossible. In recent days, researchers have discovered the antibodies associated with coronavirus in approximately one-third of white-tailed deer in four states.

The four states involved in the studies were Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, and Michigan. This has resulted in a new fear among people that COVID-19 and its variants may be transmitted from animals to people.

What Was the Purpose of the Study?

The study took a total of 481 samples from populations in white-tailed deer within the four targeted states from January 2020 to the year of 2021. The purpose and intent of the study was to determine if the deer had been exposed to the coronavirus within the habitats which they live in naturally.

The study did not test for virus replication or virus shedding among the deer populations. It has been agreed and expounded on by the CDC that more studies will need to be concluded to understand if the virus can affect animals and how it affects those animals.

What Are Coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are part of a very large group of viruses. Most result in illnesses that resemble colds. There are coronaviruses that cause sicknesses in animals. Examples include bats, cattle, and camels. There are feline and canine coronaviruses, too. These are known to only impact animals and will not result in human contraction or infection.

Can People Spread COVID-19 and Its Variants to Animals?

There have been reports of people spreading COVID-19 to animals. Given the fact that the Delta Variant has just emerged, information does not exist involving this variant, but researchers are working as quickly as possible to determine the Delta Variant is a threat to animals. The reports included human to animal spread in the following animals:

  • White-tailed Deer
  • Pet Cats
  • Pet Dogs
  • Pet Ferret
  • Minks in Mink Farms
  • Non-Human Primates
  • Otters
  • Big Cats
  • Various Creatures in Sanctuaries and Zoos

Notes on Free-Living Wildlife

While it is true that antibodies have come up in white-tailed deer, there is no current evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 or its variants is circulating in wildlife within the United States. If an infection did develop, it is unknown as to whether it would spread to other types of wildlife, to domestic pets, or to people. This is still being studied.

As a safety measure, it is important to simply observe and enjoy all forms of wildlife from a distance. You should never feed wildlife or come in contact with their fecal droppings. Wash your hands thoroughly after being outdoors. Do not approach, touch, or interact with any type of animal that appears to be sick.

If you observe wildlife species on your property, near your home, or in your home, do not attempt to handle them. If you require assistance, seek it from professional wildlife extractors, such as Palmetto Wildlife Extractors at: 855-465-1088

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