Workers at the Oregon mink farm have been quarantined after COVID-19 infection because the animals on the farm are the first to be infected in the state.
In Michigan, Wisconsin and Utah, the female also tested positive for the virus.
Oregon officials said all ten samples of the mink were positive.
It was not clear how many people had the virus, and the farm was not named either.
Animals, including mink, cats and dogs, are able to catch COVID from humans. But although cats and dogs appear to suffer from mild symptoms, the virus can be fatal to the mink.
According to the CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there is currently no evidence that animals in the United States, including mink, play a significant role in transmitting the virus to humans.
However, millions of animals in Europe have been culled after confirmation in Denmark and the Netherlands that the mink has captured a mutation in the virus, raising fears that the human vaccine may become useless.
The mutation, known as “cluster 5,” was last discovered in September and is thought to have been eradicated by now.
The Oregon mink farm was the first in the state to confirm the COVID-19 epidemic
Mink became infected with the virus in Utah, Wisconsin, Michigan and now Oregon
A healthcare worker performs a COVID test. Cats, dogs, lions, and tigers also had COVID
After the Oregon farm workers achieved a positive result, state veterinarian Ryan Scholz immediately quarantined the farm at the Oregon Department of Agriculture, meaning no animal or animal product could leave the farm until further notice.
“We have been working with the Oregon mink industry for some time to provide biosafety information to prevent the introduction of SARS-CoV-2, and we are ready to respond,” Scholz said.
“The farmer did the right thing when he reported the symptoms very early and is now working with us and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to take care of the animals and staff.
“So far, we have no reports of virus-related mink deaths, but that may change as the virus progresses.”
In Utah, 10,000 minks have died from the virus since August – the vast majority of the nationally known 15,000 have died from corona virus.
In Denmark (pictured), 17 million mink were gassed due to COVID-19 fears
In the United States, 359,850 mink were bred to produce babies, called stocks, and 2.7 million skins were born last year.
Wisconsin is the largest mink-producing state, followed by Utah.
In Wisconsin and Utah, the sick mink was exposed to people with a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.
According to the agency, it is still not known in Michigan whether the mink has infected humans.
In Utah, the first state in the U.S. to confirm mink infections in August, about 10,700 mink have died on nine farms, state veterinarian Dean Taylor said.
“For all nine, everything still suggests that people are traveling one-way to mothers,” she said.
In Europe, however, officials disagree, and on November 4, Denmark ordered the culling of its entire mink population – 17 million animals – to protect people from the virus.
Scrap occurred when mutated versions of the coronavirus were found to have developed in the animals and jumped to at least 373 people.
One of these mutations could jeopardize future vaccination efforts.
However, Denmark’s controversial policy is taking a horrible turn, as the bodies of the gassed dead mink rose from the ground during decay and were not buried properly.
The government is now planning to exhume the animals and burn the carcasses.
Danish mink appreciate the excellent quality of their fur. Danish industry employs 6,000 people and exports $ 800 million (€ 670 million) worth of fur each year.
The head of the Danish Miniature Breeders’ Association said earlier this month that the industry was completely over.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen cried to visit the mink farmer on Friday and apologized by her government for handling the matter.
Mass stitches have also taken place in France, Greece, Spain, the Netherlands and Ireland.
In the United States, authorities do not plan mass scrapping because they do not believe the mink will infect humans.
Monitoring U.S. mink virus symptoms and quarantining infected farms can limit the spread of the disease if cases are caught early, said Richard Webby, a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis.
“I am quite confident that as long as this surveillance is ongoing and strong enough, they should be able to prevent the spread,” he said.
U.S. authorities are asking farmers to wear protective equipment such as a mask and gloves when handling mink to avoid infecting the animals.
In Wisconsin, about 5,000 mink were killed on two farms, said state veterinarian Darlene Konkle.
One farm compostes dead mink to dispose of carcasses without the virus spreading, Konkle said.
Workers in Korzani, Greece, bury mink scrapped for fear of COVID
The mass grave of the mink can be seen in Greece. In Denmark, animals must be exhumed
Authorities are working with the second farm to determine how the mink will be disposed of and keep the dead animals in a metal container in the meantime, he said.
Michigan refused to disclose how many mink died, citing privacy rules.
State officials said they are working with the USDA to determine if farmers can sell the fingers of the infected mink. Furs are used to make fur coats and other objects.
According to the USDA, the coronavirus has also infected cats, dogs, lions and tigers.
Experts say the mink seems to be the most susceptible animal so far.
WHAT IS THE NEW COVID-19 STRAIN AND SHOULD BE ASSEMBLED?
What’s going on in Denmark?
The coronavirus from China, which is currently racing in the world’s population, has spread from man to mink.
When it entered the mink population, the virus was forced to mutate to multiply inside a new host and spread among the animals to create a new strain.
Sometime this new version was brought back to people.
Should we worry?
So far, experts believe the new strain – known as Cluster 5 – is no more contagious or deadly than previous versions.
But it is worrying that it is less sensitive to antibodies – substances produced by the immune system to fight infections.
Vaccines train the body to be able to release an antibody wave when the virus tries to infect people.
This has raised concerns that the future Covid-19 vaccine may be less effective if spread.
Danish experts have warned that in theory a new epidemic could start.
How did it happen?
All viruses, of course, spread by mutation.
The sole purpose of the virus is to reproduce as many times as possible, and many pathogens evolve over time to become more contagious – which often puts them in a less lethal state, allowing them to survive longer and spread to more people.
SARS-CoV-2 is thought to have originated from bats before it jumped on humans in China, probably through an intermediate species such as a pangolinone.
The Danish mink is believed to have contracted the virus from infected workers on fur farms.
The virus was then mutant in us before rushing back to re-infect humans.