COVID-19: Mink tests positive for virus on British Columbia farm

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There are 14 mink farms in the Fraser Valley.

In September, BC Chief Veterinarian Rayna Gunvaldsen and representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture inspected every mink farm in BC to ensure that all steps were taken to ensure that the virus is not transmitted between animals and humans. The ministry said the infected farm had been “found to meet all animal welfare and biosecurity standards.”

“The outbreak on this farm is not considered to pose a health risk to other mink farms,” ​​the ministry said.

Provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry said earlier this week that the outbreak was of concern as human-to-mink transmissions have occurred in other countries and there is potential for mutations of the virus.

File photo of mink in Denmark, where the government ordered the animals to be slaughtered. Photo by MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN /Ritzau Scanpix / AFP via Getty Ima

Mink are very susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, but the virus can also be contracted by ferrets, fruit bats, hamsters, cats, dogs, and tree shrews. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) also notes that large cats in captivity have tested positive for the virus, including lions and tigers at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, a cougar in South Africa. South and Tigers at a Knoxville Zoo, Tenn.

The virus is believed to have passed from animals, possibly a bat, to humans in late 2019. Since then, the WHO says there have been 68 million cases of COVID-19 in the world, resulting in more than 1.5 million deaths.

In Denmark, the world’s largest producer of mink skins, the government ordered a mass cull of the country’s 17 million mink earlier this year to prevent the infection from spreading to humans. WHO said in a statement on Dec. 3 that the decision to slaughter mink in Denmark was taken after reports revealed that it was not possible to stop the spread of the infection from farm to farm. the other or from animals to humans.

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