At least 10,000 minks have died in Utah from the coronavirus as the pandemic devastates vulnerable farms, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food said Friday.
Although the virus spread rapidly among mink populations, the United States Department of Agriculture said that “there is currently no evidence that animals, including minks or other mustelids, play a significant role in the spread of the virus to animals. human beings”
Most of the deaths occurred among older minks, who are prized for their luxurious skins.
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State officials say they are trying to mitigate the spread.
“Affected mink farms have been quarantined to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food has implemented stringent biosecurity measures and is working diligently with other organizations to address these outbreaks. “A spokesman for the state agriculture department told Fox News.
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In Wisconsin, several hundred minks have also been infected there, the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison reported Thursday.
The coronavirus was first detected in mink in the United States in August when the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that two Utah farms had been affected.
Farmers already knew minks were susceptible to the coronavirus as there were already outbreaks on farms in the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark.
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About 2.7 million mink skins were produced in the United States last year, according to the USDA. Wisconsin produces more skins than any other state, followed by Utah.
The industry as a whole was valued at $ 59.2 million last year, down 30% from $ 84.3 million in 2018.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.