Now 5 minks at two US Farms test positive for coronavirus – Totally Vegan Buzz
COVID-19 positive mink 'likely' to have infected Dutch farm worker
Image: Nicolai Dybdal / shutterstock

The mink farms have been quarantined to prevent the virus spread.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed that five minks on two Utah farms tested positive for the COVID-19 virus on Monday.

The cases are the first in the U.S. in a species that has shown to be highly vulnerable to the virus and has been widely culled in Europe following outbreaks there.

Employees at the farms also tested positive for the virus, however Dean Taylor, the state’s veterinarian, told reporters that additional testing to determine whether the minks were infected by humans or vice versa is being carried out.

Velour just banned mink fur false eyelashes
Image: Aleksandra Saveljeva / shutterstock.com

‘Low risk’

While the affected minks have been quarantined to prevent any further spread, the USDA said that “there is currently no evidence that animals, including mink, play a significant role in spreading the virus to humans.

“Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading SARS-CoV-2 to people is considered to be low.”

The agency added that the propensity of humans transferring the virus couldn’t be ruled out though and advised infected people to avoid contact with pets.

 “It is important for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to avoid contact with pets and other animals to protect them from possible infection,” USDA said in a press release.

Other animals confirmed to have tested positive for the virus in the U.S. include dogs, cats, lions and tigers.

‘No need to worry’

Despite the animals testing positive, Taylor confirmed that unlike the situation in Europe, where more than 1.1 million minks have been culled on Dutch farms, Utah has “no immediate plans for culling” the minks to stop the spread of the virus

“We don’t feel like we have enough information to make that decision at this point,” he said.

“Most of these farms have already got good biosecurity. I don’t think they need to worry unduly, but all of us need to take it seriously.”

‘A big deal’

But, Kitty Block, CEO and president of the Humane Society of the United States, declared Utah’s outbreak “a big deal.”

“If you want to address the next pandemic, you have to look at our relationship with animals,” she said in a statement.

“The health and conditions we are putting these animals in is impacting our health. We can’t separate them.”

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