Covid-19 has now found its way to an Oregon mink farm, where both staff and animals are getting infected, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
The USDA’s National Veterinary Service Laboratory has confirmed the presence of the virus in samples it received from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The state veterinarian, D Ryan Scholz, has put the farm under quarantine until further notice.
Scholz said, “The farmer did the right thing by reporting symptoms very early and he is now cooperating with us in taking care of his animals and staff. So far, we have no reports of mink mortalities linked to the virus but that could change as the virus progresses.”
Covid-19 has been found on farms in three other states, including Utah, where 10,000 minks were lost to the virus, as well as in Michigan and Wisconsin.
All of the minks in the Oregon outbreak appear to have recovered, Oregon Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Andrea Cantu-Schomus said. The agriculture department will test the minks seven to 10 days after symptoms resolve, and, if necessary, continue testing every 14 days until no more infected minks are found.
“It is suspected that infected workers introduced the infection to mink on the farm, and the virus then began to spread among the mink,” Cantu-Schomus said.
Outbreaks have also occurred on farms in the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and Denmark, where the virus forced the slaughter of 17 million mink after confirmation that 12 people had been infected with a mutated strain of Covid-19 that had spread from minks to humans. That strain has not been found elsewhere.