A recent Federal Study shows a large number of white-tailed deer in Michigan have or had Covid-19.  What does this mean for Michigan residents?

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, performed an over year long study.  In this study they tested hundreds of deer in Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan for Covid antibodies according to Fox 2 Detroit,

A total of 481 samples were collected between January of 2020 and March of 2021, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said. The agency cautioned against generalizing the data to represent the state's entire deer population.

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It is important to not that 481 deer is a small sample size for a multi-state study.  In fact, only 113 deer were tested in the state of Michigan.  That study shows that 67% of those 113 deer did test positive for Covid-19 antibodies.

Should we worry about deer having Covid-19?

The short answer is no.  Experts are still unsure as to how the deer contracted the virus.  However, there is no evidence that animals are spreading the virus to humans.

One of the biggest questions in Michigan have to do with hunting resulting in eating deer meat.  The USDA does point out that hunters are at risk of contracting other diseases while processing and/or eating deer.  However, there is no evidence of catching Covid-19 while processing or eating deer meat.

Many people may question why the Federal Government would do this study in the first place.  Fox 2 Detroit fielded that question,

Well, experts weren't sure what they were going to find when they started.

I guess we didn't know, what we didn't know.  Now we know, there's nothing to know.

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