Dutch farm worker contracted coronavirus from mink: agriculture minister

Grant Boone
May 22, 2020

After pressure from animal rights activists, the Dutch government banned new mink farms in 2013 and said existing ones would have to close by 2024.

The case occurred at a mink farm near the southern city of Eindhoven, where the small mammals are bred for their valuable fur.

Dutch authorities believe that a mink may have infected a human with Covid-19, and are instituting mandatory testing at all mink farms in the Netherlands, CNN reports.

Last month, minks on two fur farms in the Netherlands were found to be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a variant of coronavirus responsible for respiratory illness Covid-19.

In a letter to parliament, she said her previous advice that people could infect animals but not the other way around was wrong.

"These new research results have a major impact on the owners, families and employees of mink companies as well as on the local communities", she wrote in the letter. Which was genetically roaming in mink farms.

"We first want to get a broader picture of all breeding farms".

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The government also said it believes that cats may be playing a role in the spread of the virus between farms.

When 11 cats were tested near one farm, three were found to have developed antibodies for the virus, showing they had previously been exposed to the disease.

"Filthy fur farms packed with sick, stressed, and injured minks are breeding grounds for disease", said Mimi Bekhechi, PETA director of worldwide programs.

The researchers argued that the virus could be indirectly transmitted through infected feed or bedding material, through infectious droplets produced by the sick animals, or through contaminated bedding dust.

By comparing the genetic codes of the virus of different animals and people with each other, a picture can be obtained over how people and animals have been infected in time and place.

The Netherlands has so far recorded 5,715 human coronavirus deaths and 44,249 infections.

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