The World Health Organization reports that six countries have reported coronavirus infections in farmed mink.
Italy, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the US along with Denmark recorded the virus’s presence in mink farming populations, WHO said in a statement.
Concern about mink population infection has emerged from the recent discovery of mutations in the virus among mink farmed in Denmark.
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The “cluster 5” variant, as labeled by the WHO, has a combination of mutations that had not previously been observed. The WHO said that “the implications of the changes identified in this variant are not well understood”;.
“Initial observations suggest that the clinical manifestations, severity and transmission of infected individuals are similar to other circulating SARS-CoV-2 viruses,” the WHO statement said today. Friday.
However, the “cluster 5” variant has so far been shown to be less suppressed by antibodies than normal viruses, which authorities fear may threaten vaccine efficacy. development globally.
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Denmark recently announced plans to destroy 17 million farmed weasels after it was discovered that 12 humans had acquired a mutated form of the virus.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in a press conference: “We have a great responsibility for our population, but with the mutation found, we have even greater responsibility for the rest. of the world ”.
Frederiksen said the massacre would take place as soon as possible and with the participation of the armed forces, according to The New York Times.
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Outbreaks have persisted on farms across the country since the pandemic began.
At the beginning of April, Dutch officials recorded the presence of COVID-19 in at least two mink farms. Spain discovered more cases at weasel farms in July, resulting in the destruction of about 100,000 in that case.
Overall, the Spanish and Dutch governments destroyed about 1 million weasels on farms in both countries.
The United States discovered infected weasel populations in August on two farms in Utah. Cases on both farms have been associated with infection between people handling animals.
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However, the USDA said, “There is currently no evidence that animals, including weasels, play an important role in spreading the virus to humans. Based on the limited information available to date, the animal risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to humans is considered low. “
Fox News’s Brie Stimson contributed to this article.