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10,000 mink are dead in Covid-19 outbreaks at US fur farms after virus believed spread by humans

Dozens of farm animals in Wisconsin have tested positive for Covid-19 and many died.

Posted: Oct 10, 2020 9:30 PM
Updated: Oct 10, 2020 9:30 PM

Thousands of mink have died at fur farms in Utah and Wisconsin after a series of coronavirus outbreaks.

In Utah, ranchers have lost at least 8,000 mink to Covid-19 among the animals known for their silky, luxurious pelts.

The virus first appeared in the creatures in August, shortly after farmworkers fell ill in July, according to Dr. Dean Taylor, State Veterinarian of Utah. Initial research shows the virus was transmitted from humans to animals, and so far has not seen any cases of the opposite.

"Everything we've looked at here in Utah suggests its gone from the humans to the animals," Taylor told CNN. "It feels like a unidirectional path," he said, adding that testing is still underway. Utah's was the first outbreak among mink in the United States.

On Friday, Kevin Hoffman, a spokesperson at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, told CNN 2,000 mink have died from the coronavirus at a Wisconsin farm as well. Officials have quarantined the farm, Hoffman said in a release, meaning no animals or animal products may leave the Taylor County premises.

Dr. Keith Paulson with the UW-Madison Veterinary School Diagnostic Laboratory told CNN affiliate WISN that he noted "significant mortality in the mink" and that three workers there had recovered from the virus after displaying "mild to moderate clinical signs."

Other cases have been detected in the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

The USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories has confirmed cases of SAR-CoV-2 -- the virus that causes Covid-19 -- in dozens of other animals, including dozens of dogs, cats, a lion, and a tiger.

Mink, which are closely related to weasels, otter and ferrets, appear to suffer similar symptoms to humans. Difficulty breathing and crusting around the eyes are usually seen, but the virus progresses rapidly, and most infected mink are dead by the next day, according to Taylor.

It's unclear what makes mink such a susceptible species, while others appear to be unaffected.

The cluster of cases in Utah has spread to nine farms, but Taylor warns that "we're still in the middle of the outbreak."

Each farm is under quarantine with only essential workers permitted on site. Farmworkers are being directed to use proper protective equipment at all times.

The pelts from most of the mink that have died from the virus have been either contained and buried or incinerated.

Taylor said that no pelts have left the state.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751526

Reported Deaths: 13799
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033281788
Lake557151010
Allen41710692
St. Joseph36998565
Hamilton36604417
Elkhart29413461
Tippecanoe22914227
Vanderburgh22559400
Porter19359326
Johnson18477389
Hendricks17689317
Clark13228195
Madison13158344
Vigo12625253
LaPorte12420221
Monroe12211176
Delaware10968198
Howard10337225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8577147
Bartholomew8172157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7812180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6972103
Morgan6765141
Dubois6221118
Marshall6211116
Cass6017110
Henry5902110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509176
Shelby501796
Lawrence4745122
Gibson445094
Clinton442755
Harrison441775
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438490
Whitley406643
Huntington403181
Steuben400259
Miami395269
Jasper388654
Knox376391
Putnam373260
Wabash362383
Ripley347270
Adams345555
Jefferson336186
White332253
Daviess3033100
Wells295381
Decatur289892
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273172
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246136
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234631
Starke228058
Fountain221048
Sullivan214643
Owen212158
Fulton203042
Jay200932
Carroll193720
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166446
Parke149616
Pike138134
Blackford136232
Pulaski120747
Newton114336
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101914
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109025

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287651467
Cuyahoga1158292211
Hamilton814131250
Montgomery525601043
Summit484401001
Lucas43364820
Butler39021606
Stark33339929
Lorain25679505
Warren24600303
Mahoning22378603
Lake21213388
Clermont20125253
Delaware18860136
Licking16664222
Fairfield16577204
Trumbull16555482
Medina15613271
Greene15284248
Clark14237306
Wood13293200
Portage13251215
Allen11914239
Richland11608211
Miami10850225
Wayne9147223
Columbiana9036230
Muskingum8907135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8651250
Marion8646138
Erie8057165
Ashtabula7162179
Hancock6999132
Ross6946161
Geauga6841151
Scioto6536106
Belmont6159174
Union584649
Lawrence5734102
Jefferson5680158
Huron5547122
Sandusky5443126
Darke5420129
Seneca5349128
Washington5320109
Athens524360
Auglaize502287
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4572112
Madison444466
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432174
Crawford4040110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3856105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359865
Williams348278
Champaign344859
Guernsey325153
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285550
Hardin275465
Henry273467
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148540
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
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