“🦌🦠 Bambi Got The Bug? Deer Found to Exchange COVID with Humans, Who’s the Real Wildlife Now? 😷”

TL;DR: Humans and wild white-tailed deer are apparently exchanging COVID-19 party favors like it’s some interspecies Mardi Gras. An exhaustive study uncovers hundreds of instances of the virus swapping sides, even passing over mutated versions. Who needs sci-fi when reality’s dishing out these plot twists?

Oh, Deer! Humans and COVID-Infected Deer Playing Viral Tag 🏷️

It’s a classic tale of boy meets girl, except in this case, it’s humans meeting wild deer… and there’s a pandemic involved. πŸ” Analysis of thousands of samples from the woodland creatures suggests that humans have given COVID-19 to the deer population multiple times. But hey, those deer aren’t just taking it lying down. They’ve given us the bug right back, and sometimes with a little extra ‘oomph’ – mutated variants, at least three times.

Is it just us, or is the line between who’s the wildlife getting blurrier? 😡

This revelation comes from a study that’s part of a broader effort to monitor how the virus is affecting American wildlife. Overseeing the operation is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the guys who are usually more concerned with ticks and brucellosis. Now, they’ve got a pandemic on their hands… and hooves.

They’re Not Just White-Tailed, They’re COVID-Tailed 🦌🦠

Scientists took a whopping 8,830 samples from wild white-tailed deer across 26 states and Washington, D.C., between November 2021 and April 2022. Out of these, 282 were found partying with COVID.

In this epic game of viral hide-and-seek, how do the boffins know who gave what to whom? πŸ” Well, they compared the virus sequences from deer with data on human infections worldwide. Like detectives at a crime scene, they were able to map the likely spread between humans and animals.

Do we even need detective shows when reality is giving us a mystery of this caliber? πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™‚οΈ

A staggering 109 strains in the deer samples matched known strains from humans. Given the contact between deer and humans – from hunting, handling of venison, to that one crazy aunt who insists on feeding the deer at Christmas – the findings make a strange kind of sense.

Remember, guys, this isn’t an episode of “Outbreak” and we’re not blaming Bambi for the pandemic. But it does leave us with questions…

If COVID is playing hopscotch across species, what other animals might be part of this viral relay? And, while we’re looking at the animal kingdom, maybe it’s time to consider – who’s really wild here? The deer minding their own business in the woods, or the humans bringing the pandemic to their doorstep? And more importantly, when will we start rethinking our interactions with wildlife, seeing them not as mere elements in our environment, but as co-inhabitants of our shared world? πŸ€”πŸŒŽπŸ•ŠοΈ