68% of farmworkers, associates near mink farms infected by Covid-19: Study

Prashasti Awasthi | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

Members of Danish health authorities are assisted by members of the Danish Armed Forces in disposing of dead mink in a military area near Holstebro in Denmark | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The virus prevalent in the mink farms carry a genetic signature that helps it to proliferate faster across the continent

The coronavirus infection menace in mink farms was also triggered by infected people passing the virus onto minks in the Netherlands, starting a viral back-and-forth, as per CNN report.

This has led to 68 per cent of fur farmworkers and their close associates getting infected by the virus, according to researchers.

The researchers believe that the densely populated farms became a ground for super spreading events of the coronavirus transmission. This further helped the virus mutate and grow.

Also read: Denmark to slaughter 15-17 million farmed minks to contain SARS-CoV-2

For the study, a team in the Netherlands carried a genome analysis of virus samples taken from animals and people on 16 mink farms in the Netherlands.

They examined the full genetic sequence of the virus to understand its biology and the way it spread and multiplied.

Bas Oude Munnink of Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam and colleagues, in their report, published in the journal Science, wrote: “We conclude that the virus was initially introduced from humans and has since evolved, most likely reflecting widespread circulation among mink at the beginning of the infection period several weeks prior to detection.”

Also read: Six nations reported coronavirus in farmed minks: WHO

The researchers revealed that the virus prevalent in the mink farms carry a genetic signature that helps it to proliferate faster across the continent.

“Despite enhanced biosecurity, early warning surveillance and immediate culling of infected farms, transmission occurred between mink farms in three big transmission clusters with unknown modes of transmission. Sixty-eight per cent (68 per cent) of the tested mink farm residents, employees, and/or contacts had evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the researchers added.

The study further stated that people infected the animals, and the animal infected people, and the virus has not yet spread from the farms into the wider community.

So far, no troubling mutations have turned up, they added.

Last week, after the World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared an emergency regarding coronavirus spread in farmed minks in six countries across the globe, Denmark decided to slaughter the whole population of minks to contain the outbreak, as per media reports.

Published on November 12, 2020
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