Mink may have infected farm worker with coronavirus in the Netherlands

COVID-19 positive mink 'likely' to have infected Dutch farm worker

COVID-19 positive mink 'likely' to have infected Dutch farm worker

In a letter sent to parliament on Wednesday, agriculture minister Carola Schouten said the worker had a virus strain similar to that found in an animal on the premises, according to EuroNews.

The semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals are reared on more than 130 Dutch farms for their soft pelts.

The researchers are monitoring the outbreak to locate its persistence, said Marion Koopmans, head of viroscience department at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam. "I think that's the biggest question", he said in a Bloomberg interview. "We would not want to have a persistent situation".

Euronnews reports that cases of the virus were found in two farms in the Netherlands in April after workers noticed some minks were having difficulties breathing. The researchers concluded that it is plausible that one employee of an infected mink farm was infected by a mink, which would be the first time in the Netherlands.

COVID-19 positive mink likely to have infected Dutch farm worker
Image Julija Lahova

The new measure was introduced after ongoing research found "transmission of new coronavirus from mink to human".

According to the minister, the previously issued recommendations on the impossibility of transmitting COVID-19 from mink to humans were erroneous and there is still a minimal risk of infection. Antibodies to coronavirus have been detected on one farm in 3 out of 11 animals.

"In the course of this investigation, it is advised that infected mink farms ensure that cats can not enter or leave the farm premises".

Authorities are also looking at the role of feral farm cats in spreading the virus between the two infected farms. Viral RNA was detected in throat swabs of all 36 necropsied animals, rectal swabs in 34, liver in one, and intestine in three. An inquiry was launched to decide whether the animals had been poisoned by their human keepers.

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