Study shows efficient deer-to-deer SARS-CoV-2 transmission
A US study shows that white-tailed deer (WTD) inoculated with COVID-19–causing SARS-CoV-2 shed infectious virus for up to 5 days, resulting in efficient deer-to-deer transmission on day 3, findings the authors say highlight the potential for deer to become a reservoir for the virus.
Cornell University and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers conducted the study, published yesterday in PLOS Pathogens. The team intranasally inoculated fawns about 8 months old with SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The fawns, which had high viral loads in their nasal and oral secretions, shed infectious virus for up to 5 days. Efficient transmission to other deer occurred on day 3, but no spread was detected to additional deer introduced to the infected deer on days 6 and 9.
In investigating SARS-CoV-2 viral replication in WTD aged 3 or 4 years, the researchers detected infectious virus up to day 6 in nasal secretions and from respiratory, lymphoid, and central nervous system tissues.
"The study provides important insights on the infection and transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in WTD, a wild animal species that is highly susceptible to infection and with the potential to become a reservoir for the virus in the field," they wrote.
The study authors noted that SARS-CoV-2 can infect both domestic and wild animal species and that WTD, the most widely distributed cervid species in the Americas, have been shown to be highly vulnerable to the virus, with reported natural infection rates of up to 40% in wild deer in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, and Texas. Examples of other cervids are moose and elk.
"Understanding the infection and transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in WTD is critical to prevent future zoonotic transmission to humans, (at the human-WTD interface during hunting or venison farming), and for implementation of effective disease control measures."
Mar 21 PLOS Pathog study
Study: Referrals for partner violence increased during pandemic
A study today in Pediatrics from researchers at Boston Children's Hospital suggests that, even during a shift away from face-to-face care, there was an increase in referrals for intimate partner violence (IPV) after the start of the pandemic.
Face-to-face consults dropped from 28% to 2% when referrals were compared from the 11 months prior to the start of the pandemic to April 2020 through February 2021. But during that period, there was a significant jump in consults (240 to 295; P < .001), primarily for emotional abuse (195 to 264; P = .007).
Psychoeducation referrals also increased significantly (199 to 273; P < .001), while referrals to community resources decreased significantly (111 to 95; P < .001), the authors said.
The authors said the increased isolation, school closures, and compounding economic inequities seen during the early month of the pandemic led to more instances of parent and caregiver IPV, and more referrals to the Advocacy for Women and Kids in Emergencies (AWAKE program) embedded at Boston Children's. Children who witness IPV are at greater risk for a number of worse outcomes, the authors said.
In a commentary on the study, Maya Ragavan, MD, MPH, and Elizabeth Miller, MD, PhD, write that the lessons of the pandemic should not be forgotten: "Healthcare settings must recognize that IPV agencies are integral to the pediatric medical home and essential collaborators in the provision of healing-centered care for IPV survivors and their children."
Mar 22 Pediatrics study and commentary