First cases of COVID-19 in Canadian wildlife detected in Quebec

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The Environment and Climate Change Canada announced Wednesday that the first cases of COVID-19 in Canadian wildlife have been detected in Quebec. (File Photo – Environment and Climate Change Canada)

“On November 29, 2021, the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (CFIA) confirmed the first detections of SARS-CoV-2 in three free-ranging white-tailed deer in Canada,” the department said in a statement.

The statement further added that the deer were sampled between November 6 to 8, 2021, in the Estrie region of Quebec.

“Samples for SARS-CoV-2 were collected through a big game registration station in southern Quebec,” the Environment and Climate Change Canada said, adding that similar to findings in the United States, the deer showed no evidence of clinical signs of disease, and were all apparently healthy.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) was notified on December 1, 2021.

The Environments and Climate Change Canada also added “As this is the first detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife in Canada, information on the impacts and spread of the virus in wild deer populations is currently limited. This finding emphasizes the importance of ongoing surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife to increase our understanding about SARS-CoV-2 on the human-animal interface.”

Federal, provincial and territorial partners continue to monitor and assess the potential implications of the virus on Canadian wildlife.

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