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COVID-19 outbreak kills thousands of mink in Utah

A coronavirus outbreak killed thousands of minks on Utah fur farms over a ten-day period starting in late September, forcing nine farms in the state to be put into precautionary quarantine.

The virus was likely transferred from workers to animals, although there are no signs that minks have infected any humans, according to Dr. Dean Taylor, the state veterinarian who is investigating the outbreak.

“We honestly don’t feel like there’s much of a risk going from mink to people,” Taylor told The Associated Press.

As many as 8,000 mink died during the outbreak. The fur of infected dead minks is still used commercially. The skins are processed to remove the virus before being used for coats or other clothing accessories, according to the Fur Commission USA, a trade group.

No animals were euthanized for his infections, according to Taylor.

Previously, during the pandemic, minks were known to be vulnerable to the disease after mink infection was detected in the Netherlands this spring. Spanish and Dutch authorities slaughtered thousands of minks this summer for fear that the animals could transfer the virus to humans, the New York Times reported.

Research conducted in the Netherlands found that minks are dangerously sensitive to COVID-1

9, as it indicates a specific protein in their lungs that binds to the virus.

Taylor said transmission between mink in Utah followed a similar spread in humans. Younger minks are less vulnerable, with the majority of deaths occurring among minks between the ages of one and four.

“It’s going through the breeding colonies and wiping out the older mink and leaving the younger mink unharmed,” Taylor said.

With Post cables

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