Last Wednesday, the federal government of Canada announced that three white-tailed deer from Quebec, in the Eastern Townships, were infected with the Covid-19 virus. The National Center for Foreign Animal Diseases of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed the first detections of SARS-CoV-2 in these three cervids. Between November 6 and 8, samples were taken from these deer. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), clarified: “the deer showed no clinical sign of the disease and were all a priori in good health”.
As the first cases of infection in wildlife in Canada, information regarding the impact and spread of the virus on wild deer populations is limited at this time. However, ECCC clarified that it is then important to continuously monitor the presence of the virus in wild animals in order to better understand the possible transmission of it between humans and animals. In the United States, reports confirm that COVID-19 has been transmitted from humans to white-tailed deer. Conversely, the virus would not have been transmitted from deer to humans for the moment.
Despite limited information on SARS-CoV-2 and animals, the virus is still known to have infected several species around the world, such as farmed mink, pets and animals in zoos. (tigers, lions, gorillas, cougars and otters).