Minks are being tested for COVID-19 transmission after death

Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 8:21 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Only three of the 22 states that have mink farms in the United Stated have had positive tests for SARS COV-2. Michigan is the latest state to have a positive test.

Wisconsin was the second state with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 at a mink farm in Taylor County. The National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed October 8 that nine mink had died.

The recent positive tests have caused concerns. The U.S. Fur Commission is researching how those outbreaks are affecting the animal’s fur and if the furs can be used safely. Michael Whelan is the executive director of the Fur Commission USA and says testing is being done to see if any transmission can happen if mink has died.

“We’re waiting on further research on how long the virus can live on an inanimate object. We know the virus can’t replicate without a live host. But we are not sure how long an animal can live without a live host,” Whelan said.

A mink that has died from the virus doesn’t leave the farm unless it is from testing. Right now no pelts are harvested from the infected animals. A DATCP spokesperson has stated that most farms have used the animals for fertilizer.

Director Whelan also mentioned that there is no concrete evidence that mink can spread the virus to humans. The only transmission known right now is from humans to animals, and animals to each other.

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