Poland Finds Coronavirus at Mink Farms
Scientists in Poland have discovered the first cases of coronavirus at a mink farm in the northern part of the country.
The Medical University of Gdansk was quoted by Euronews on Tuesday that eight minks were found infected with coronavirus at a breeding farm in the Pomeranian Voivodeship.
The animals from 91 farms have undergone a throat swab test.
“This is the first case of confirmed infection of farm animals with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in Poland,” said the Medical University of Gdansk in a statement.
“The obtained results indicate the possibility of transmission of the virus from humans to minks,” it added.
Last week, veterinary and sanitary authorities said that 18 virus cases have been identified among mink farmworkers since the start of the pandemic, but it was unclear whether the virus was spread by the animals.
The statement came after its fellow European Union member Denmark withdrew a plan to cull all minks across the country.
Denmark, a major producer of mink fur, began coronavirus testing among its farmed minks and workers this month.
Earlier in October, the government ordered the culling of 17 million minks in a bid to keep the virus outbreak at bay. Hundreds of Danish farmers and mink breeders stormed the streets to protest against the government.
The virus has been found on more than 200 mink farms and 12 humans were found to have the mutated form of the virus.
The order did not appear to be in jeopardy as farmers have been carrying out mass culls for weeks, but some questioned the science behind the decision as mutations in coronavirus are normal, thus making it unclear whether the mutation was significant.
The order was later withdrawn after realizing it had zero authority to order the killing on farms not affected by the disease.
The government has instead “recommended” that farmers kill all minks.
Denmark was still pursuing the killing of all minks but that it needed to pass a new bill into law in order to allow it to legally order the cull.
For its part, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said that mutation may have implications for immunity, reinfections, and the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
It said, however, that there was a high uncertainty over this.
Photo from Flickr