"First U.S. Cases Of Coronavirus In Mink Found At Utah Fur Farms"

"Mink at two Utah fur farms have tested positive for the virus that causes covid-19 in humans, the Department of Agriculture said Monday, announcing the first U.S. cases in a species that has been widely culled in Europe following outbreaks there.

Employees at the farms in Utah, the second-largest producer of mink pelts used for coats and other luxury items, also tested positive for the coronavirus, the USDA said. Dean Taylor, Utah’s state veterinarian, told reporters Monday that state and federal agencies are conducting additional testing to determine whether the mink were infected by humans or vice versa, and whether mink at other farms are sick.

Mink were discovered to be susceptible to the virus in April, when the Netherlands reported outbreaks at several farms, and mink farms in Denmark and Spain were later affected. The three countries have since killed more than a million of the animals, according to the Associated Press, but the spread has continued: As of this month, at least 27 Dutch farms have been hit. Mink are related to ferrets, which laboratory experiments have shown are highly vulnerable to the virus."

Karin Brulliard reports for the Washington Post August 17, 2020.

Source: Washington Post, 08/18/2020