At least two wild deer have tested positive for COVID-19.
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife sampled deer meat in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture.
The two positive cases were from deer harvested from Atlantic and Cumberland counties.
Deer have also tested positive in six other states – Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania – as part of ongoing surveillance projects.
Federal wildlife officials have known for some time that certain wildlife species can be infected with the coronavirus, but research is ongoing.
It is unclear whether the deer contracted the virus from people or from another species. The USDA says it’s “possible that they were exposed by people, the environment, other deer, or another animal species.”
The CDC does not believe the virus can be transmitted to humans by harvesting or eating deer meat.
Certain species of wildlife can be infected with SARS-CoV-2, and there is evidence that some wild animals in the wild have been infected in the United States. However, there is currently no evidence that wildlife can be a source of infection for people in the United States. – CDC
New Jersey wildlife officials recommend:
- Wear a mask to reduce your risk of coming into contact with pathogens transmitted by respiratory droplets. Preparing a carcass can produce aerosols (small droplets and particles in the air) that may contain the virus.
- Wear rubber or disposable gloves.
- Do not eat, drink or smoke while handling and cleaning game.
- Avoid cutting the spine and spinal tissues and do not eat the brains of wild animals.
- It is also recommended that you do not allow your pets to come into contact with wildlife.
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