"Thousands of farmed minks in Wisconsin and Utah have died from the novel coronavirus, which experts say they got from humans."
"Two U.S. states — Wisconsin and Utah — are battling major COVID-19 outbreaks at mink farms, both of which experts believe stemmed from humans. Nearly 10,000 minks have died from the virus in Utah, experts confirmed to Yahoo Life Friday, as well as several hundred in Wisconsin. The outbreaks have occurred on the heels of a similar one this summer in the Netherlands, which forced one of the world’s leading exporters of mink to effectively shut down.
Scientists have described the COVID-19 epidemic among minks as spillover from humans or “zoonosis in reverse,” the opposite of how the virus initially spread (from an animal to a human). But although officials in both states say the risk to individuals working with the minks is low, an epidemiologist says that the easily transmissible virus could still spread the other direction.
Prior to the mink outbreaks, COVID-19 had only been identified in dogs, cats, lions and tigers. But Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, says its presence in minks makes it clear that the animals have what’s called an ACE2 protein, a receptor that provides the “entry point into the cells” for the coronavirus. “Not everybody has it, and children have it less than older persons, but it seems that these mink have the appropriate one,” says Schaffner."