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A recent study has found that deer on Staten Island are the first known wild animal carriers of the Omicron Variant. Deer seem to contract the virus quite easily, as they have been found carrying other variants in 14 other states.

Another study that was released in November of last year, showed that hundreds of deer were infected in Iowa. In fact, 80 percent of the deer that were tested were infected with the virus. There was no evidence to show that the deer could infect humans, but the concern is that it could mutate and, in time, be transferred back on them.

Besides deer, there are other animals that are vulnerable to contracting the disease.

According to The New York Times, “They include ferrets and primates that have been intentionally infected in lab experiments, zoo animals that caught the virus from their handlers and captive mink that were sickened after being exposed to the pathogen by farm workers.”

In regard to the mink, Denmark made headlines in 2020 when they decided to cull 17 million of them after a virus outbreak. The worry again was about the mutations that were found. In Spain, another 100,000 mink were killed after the virus was detected.

However, the spread of the new variant in deer was not at all shocking, according to some experts.

The research was born out of a partnership between Penn State and White Buffalo, among other institutions. White Buffalo has been working with the city of New York to sterilize male deer in an effort to control the population.

One deer that was infected also had antibodies in their system, which may mean they’d previously had the virus too. But researchers said it’s too soon to draw conclusions and that the antibodies may have been created while they were infected.

Right now, the consensus seems to be that more research is what’s needed.

Kurt Vandegrift, a member of the research team, sums things up.

“We’re brand-new in finding these infections in the wild. And so that’s why we’re taking data, and that’s why we need to do more surveillance.”

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