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A new study found white-tailed deer on Staten Island, New York, were infected with the omicron variant of COVID-19, raising concerns the virus could spread among animals.

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The study, which has not yet been published, found that 19 of the 131 deer sampled on Staten Island between Dec. 12, 2021, and Jan. 31, 2022, were positive for the omicron variant.

Previous studies, including one from Ohio State University we first reported on in December, found COVID-19 in wild deer across several states. In that study, at least three variants of COVID-19 were found in deer in six places in Ohio.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed infections in deer across Ohio, Iowa, New York, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia, The New York Times reported. The previous infections were all prior variants of the coronavirus.

“The circulation of the virus in deer provides opportunities for it to adapt and evolve,” Vivek Kapur, part of the study’s research team, told The New York Times. “And it’s likely to come back and haunt us in the future.”

Deer Study by National Content Desk on Scribd

While researchers have found evidence that suggests deer are transmitting the virus among each other, there has not been any evidence to suggest the virus has then been passed back to humans, Fortune reported.

Researchers said they now hope to study the antibodies found in the Staten Island deer to determine how antibodies from different variants may protect against others, The New York Times reported.

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