Canada has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a mink farm in Fraser Valley, British Columbia, after eight staffers from an unidentified facility tested positive for the virus, the Fraser Health Authority said in a statement on Sunday.
According to authorities, it is not yet clear if the virus spread from the employees to the mink, or it could be vice versa, as tests are still being carried out on both the humans and animals.
Some of the mink have been sent to a national testing facility in Winnipeg for more detailed testing, the Agriculture Ministry of British Columbia said. It is believed that the outbreak has so far been limited to just one mink-breeding facility in the region. No CARS-CoV-2 infections among mink have been officially confirmed in the province.
Coronavirus Among Mink
Mink, like some other animals, are susceptible to carrying the virus after allegedly catching it from humans. They also tend to suffer from some severe COVID-related symptoms, including pneumonia.
Earlier this autumn, scientists in Denmark identified a mutated version of the virus among COVID-infected mink in local farms, which was eventually transmitted back to humans, infecting nearly a dozen of workers. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced in November that around 15-17 million of mink would be culled. Similar measures have been taken in farms across Spain, the Netherlands, and some other countries.
The decision caused a massive outcry from the public in Denmark, which is one of the world's largest exporters of mink fur.
Around 10 million Danish mink have already been culled and buried, but thousands of corpses have hauntingly emerged from their graves owing to gases from decomposition.