Antibodies show white-tailed deer in Illinois, 3 other states, exposed to COVID, USDA says

The USDA is reporting that one-third of white-tailed deer it has checked have antibodies to the COVID-19 virus.

The animal and plant health inspection service took blood samples in Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania, CNN reported.

Government scientists said they weren't surprised by the results because deer often come into close contact with people.

RELATED: Lambda and delta plus: What to know about other COVID variants detected in US

None of the deer seemed to be showing any ill effects from the virus.

The study was not designed to find out whether deer could shed-- or spread-- the virus.

The USDA is going to work with the CDC to determine next steps.