Coronavirus found at mink farms in North Brabant


Coronavirus found at mink farms in North Brabant

27 April 2020
Two mink breeders in North Brabant have diagnosed the coronavirus in several animals, reports Minister Schouten of Agriculture. The animals had gastrointestinal complaints and breathing problems.
The ministry assumes human to animal contamination, because some employees of the companies in Beek en Donk and Milheeze had symptoms of the corona virus. 

According to the RIVM, the minks are the first animals in the Netherlands to have been diagnosed with a corona infection. As far as is known, it is the first time worldwide that covid-19 has been established on a larger scale in breeding animals.

The infections were confirmed on Friday by researchers from the laboratory of Wageningen Bioveterinary Research in Lelystad. It was already known that ferrets, which are related to mink, can get sick from the coronavirus.

The farm in Beek en Donk has 7,500 mink and Milheeze has 13,000 animals. To prevent spreading to other companies, the mink and manure must not be allowed to drain the company.

On the advice of RIVM, the public road around both farms is closed within a radius of 400 meters for cyclists and walkers. This is a precautionary measure, because according to RIVM, mink companies do not, as far as we know, pose a risk of spreading to humans.

The infection in minks is not immediately worrying, says professor of veterinary medicine Arjan Stegeman of Utrecht University (UU). "It is annoying, but the advantage of mink is that they are in stables and cages." The chance that the predators break out and kindle is therefore very small.