COVID-19 virus detected in five Ontario deer: officials

A white-tailed deer is shown on Manitoulin Island, near Gore Bay, Ont. on Thursday, July 13, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES / Richard Buchan

Five deer have tested positive for COVID-19, Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says.

This marks the first time the virus has been detected in wildlife in the province.

In a post on Facebook on Tuesday, the ministry said samples were collected from five free-ranging white-tailed deer in southwestern Ontario back in November.

According to the ministry, the deer have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

These are the first cases reported in free-ranging Ontario wildlife,” the Facebook post reads. “SARS-CoV-2, has previously been detected in wild white-tailed deer in northeastern US, Quebec and Saskatchewan.”

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The ministry said COVID-19 remains “largely a disease of human concern” and “typically spreads from human to humans.”

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The ministry said there is “currently no evidence” that you can get COVID-19 from food, “including game meat.”

“However it is always important to cook meat to an internal temperature of 74°C (165°F) to kill any parasites, viruses or bacteria that may be present,” the post reads.

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