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COVID-19 found on second Fraser Valley mink farm

Last Updated Dec 24, 2020 at 3:35 pm PST

FILE - In this file photo dated Friday Nov. 6, 2020, mink look out from a pen on a farm near Naestved, Denmark. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has appointed Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, a new agriculture minister, after Mogens Jensen resigned after the government ordered the culling of all Danish mink because of the coronavirus, but without having the necessary legislation in place first.(Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)
Summary

Three mink that died on a Fraser Valley farm tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans

Earlier this month after an outbreak was declared on another mink farm in the area 200 animals died

FRASER VALLEY (NEWS 1130) — Mink at a second farm in the Fraser Valley have tested positive for COVID-19, but so far, no humans have been infected.

Twenty-three mink have died on the farm between Dec. 19 and Dec. 23, according to a statement issued Thursday by B.C.’s  Ministry of Agriculture.

Three of those mink tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. There are approximately 1,000 mink at the farm, the location of which is not being released.

“The chief veterinarian for B.C. has placed the farm under a quarantine order prohibiting the movement of animals and materials from the property to minimize the risk of the virus spreading. A plan is in place to provide feed and care to the mink during the outbreak that respects the conditions of the quarantine and maintains both worker and mink safety,” reads a statement.

“It is not currently known how the mink contracted the virus and the ministry is currently working with stakeholders to identify potential sources.”

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Earlier this month, an outbreak was declared on another mink farm in the area after eight workers tested positive. About 200 mink died between Dec. 4 and Dec. 9 but “no unusual mortalities” have been reported since.

Testing has revealed the strain of virus was “identical or nearly identical” among infected animals and humans on that farm.

“The strain detected has been circulating in people in B.C., indicating COVID-19 spread from people to animals and not the other way around,” the ministry writes.

Earlier outbreaks on mink farms in Europe and the United States revealed the animals are susceptible to COVID-19.

Breeders in Denmark euthanized 2.5 million mink following outbreaks, while mink farmers in Spain culled almost 100,000. In the U.S., nearly 10,000 mink across Utah died of COVID-19 as the virus spread rapidly across farms in the state.

There are 70 mink farms in Canada, and those in B.C. have agreed to increased testing and inspections to monitor for cases of the coronavirus.

With files from the Canadian Press.