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

A fur farm in Wisconsin had many mink test positive for Covid-19. A spokesman for the state's department of agriculture says animal deaths are "in the hundreds."

Posted: Oct 11, 2020 8:10 AM
Updated: Oct 11, 2020 8:11 AM

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: 724214

Reported Deaths: 13363
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion989071736
Lake53172962
Allen40223675
Hamilton35354408
St. Joseph35270550
Elkhart28228437
Tippecanoe22297217
Vanderburgh22231396
Porter18560304
Johnson17832376
Hendricks17098313
Clark12897191
Madison12519339
Vigo12379244
Monroe11811168
LaPorte11691210
Delaware10571185
Howard9823215
Kosciusko9347117
Hancock8204139
Bartholomew8036155
Warrick7754155
Floyd7630176
Wayne7002198
Grant6986174
Boone6652101
Morgan6529139
Dubois6139117
Marshall5954111
Dearborn577177
Cass5769105
Henry5671102
Noble555783
Jackson499672
Shelby488196
Lawrence4470120
Gibson433791
Harrison432972
Clinton426353
DeKalb423284
Montgomery423088
Whitley392739
Huntington386380
Steuben381057
Miami379165
Knox370990
Jasper361347
Putnam357760
Wabash352478
Adams340354
Ripley338370
Jefferson328481
White312254
Daviess294399
Wells290281
Decatur282992
Fayette278362
Greene276085
Posey270733
Scott264453
LaGrange263870
Clay258945
Randolph239581
Washington239131
Spencer230431
Jennings228848
Starke213252
Fountain211846
Sullivan210442
Owen195856
Fulton194240
Jay190429
Carroll187820
Perry182537
Orange181854
Rush172625
Vermillion167643
Franklin167235
Tipton161945
Parke145416
Blackford134332
Pike132634
Pulaski115945
Newton106734
Brown101441
Crawford99014
Benton98114
Martin87415
Warren80515
Switzerland7808
Union70610
Ohio56211
Unassigned0413

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1077284

Reported Deaths: 19344
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1251861392
Cuyahoga1110942107
Hamilton796611200
Montgomery511561012
Summit46842933
Lucas41780782
Butler38228580
Stark32099907
Lorain24828480
Warren24214297
Mahoning21403586
Lake20518368
Clermont19704238
Delaware18463131
Licking16373210
Fairfield16083199
Trumbull15966466
Medina15192262
Greene14991244
Clark13927297
Wood13020188
Portage12772201
Allen11564231
Richland11277198
Miami10652215
Muskingum8783132
Wayne8738210
Columbiana8735229
Pickaway8527121
Marion8494135
Tuscarawas8459243
Erie7831154
Hancock6880126
Ross6821152
Ashtabula6756169
Geauga6659148
Scioto6385101
Belmont5828167
Union569347
Lawrence5536102
Jefferson5481151
Huron5409119
Darke5333122
Sandusky5316120
Seneca5248121
Athens518058
Washington5137109
Auglaize487084
Mercer479085
Shelby466893
Knox4472110
Madison434761
Putnam4260100
Ashland420989
Fulton419869
Defiance416597
Crawford3954106
Brown391857
Logan380676
Preble378298
Clinton369861
Ottawa365779
Highland352761
Williams337075
Champaign329258
Guernsey314453
Jackson311651
Perry294250
Morrow283639
Fayette280649
Hardin269864
Henry267766
Coshocton263858
Holmes2587101
Van Wert242463
Pike237233
Adams235852
Gallia235148
Wyandot230654
Hocking214662
Carroll190947
Paulding171140
Meigs144339
Noble133437
Monroe130642
Morgan108223
Harrison107337
Vinton82015
Unassigned02
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