Covid-19 outbreak reported on Oregon mink farm

Posted Nov 29, 2020 by Karen Graham
An outbreak of COVID-19 at a mink farm in Oregon has resulted in a quarantine at that farm. The farmer and his staff have also been advised to self-isolate after multiple coronavirus cases were reported among workers on the farm.
American Mink ( Neovison vison) - White (Jasmin)  in Poland
American Mink ( Neovison vison) - White (Jasmin), in Poland
felixd (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Ten mink samples submitted all came back positive for coronavirus, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) said in a news release on Friday. This means that "no animal or animal product can leave the farm until further notice," according to ODA.
"We have been engaged with the Oregon mink industry for some time, providing information on biosecurity to prevent the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 and were ready to respond," ODA veterinarian Dr. Ryan Scholz said, according to CTV News Canada.
"The farmer did the right thing by self-reporting symptoms very early and he is now cooperating with us and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in taking care of his animals and staff. So far, we have no reports of mink moralities linked to the virus but that could change as the virus progresses."
OHA public health veterinarian Dr. Emilio DeBess says the safety of workers is critical in protecting people and animals, adding: "Our best weapon against the virus right now is education. We are providing testing, specific workplace guidance and support, and supplying additional PPE to the farmer, the employees, and their families to help reduce further spread of the virus."
Denmark ordered millions of mink culled before the government admitted it had no legal authority for...
Denmark ordered millions of mink culled before the government admitted it had no legal authority for the move
Morten Stricker, Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/File
SARS-CoV-2 in mink
The news stream has focused on Denmark's coronavirus outbreak in mink. Earlier this month, Denmark, which is the world's largest exporter of mink fur — announced it would cull all of the country's more than 15 million mink after a mutated version of the novel coronavirus was discovered.
Two weeks later, the government concluded that the potential threat to human vaccines was "very likely extinguished," in the absence of any new cases of the mutated version. By then, over 10 million mink had been slaughtered.
But Denmark is not the only country to detect the virus in mink. This year, the virus has also been detected in the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and in the United States in Utah, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Other species of animals within the United States have also tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, reports CNN News.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Currently, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 to people. However, reports from infected mink farms in the Netherlands and Denmark suggest that in these environments there is the possibility for spread of SARS-CoV-2 from mink to humans."
The USDA announces confirmed coronavirus cases in animals each time it is found in a new species. All confirmed cases in animals are posted on the department's website. The overall number of animals tested for SARS-CoV-2 is being updated monthly. As of November 15, 2020, 1,842 animals had been tested by the agency.