The first cases of novel coronavirus found in minks in the United States have been reported in Utah, according to multiple reports. The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Service Laboratory announced that all five cases were found at two mink farms in Utah.
Necropsies were performed on several dead minks from the farms by the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory after receiving exceptionally high reports of mink fatalities, the agency stated in the release. Both farms have been completely quarantined, according to a news release from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
“These are the first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in mink in the United States. The affected farms also reported positive cases of COVID-19 in people who had contact with the mink,” the news release said.
Besides the U.S., SARS-CoV-2 was found on multiple mink farms in the Netherlands, and on mink farms in Spain and Denmark the statement said and added, the “USDA has closely monitored these outbreaks and recently issued a document containing guidance for farmed mink in the United States.”
The health agency stated, “There is currently no evidence that animals, including mink, play a significant role in spreading the virus to humans. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading SARS-CoV-2 to people is considered to be low.”
The USDA said in the statement that further studies are needed to understand how COVID-19 affects different species and whether animals can contribute to the spread of the virus.
Fox Salt Lake City’s Fox TV-13 said Utah is the second producer of minks in the nation.