Mink may have infected a farm worker with coronavirus: Agriculture Minister

It is plausible that there was a mink to human coronavirus infection in the Netherlands, Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture said. She did not say at which mink farm this happened. The chance of a mink infecting a human with the coronavirus was not considered high, the Minister said, NOS reports.

An employee at a Dutch mink farm has the coronavirus, and the virus shows similarities with the virus found in mink on that same farm. As far as is known, this is the first time in the Netherlands that a human got the coronavirus from an animal, Schouten said.

Extra measures are being taken at mink farms from now on. "All companies are screened and visitors are banned from visiting the stables." According to Schouten, the virus is not in the air outside the stables. Mink farm workers were already instructed to wear protective clothing. It is too soon to consider culling the animals, Schouten said. "We first want to get a broader picture of all breeding farms. Culling is the ultimate measure, first we want to take other measures." 

Other animals and farm animals are also being checked for the coronavirus. "We want to investigate the transfer between animals and humans." The coronavirus was previously diagnosed in a number of cats and at least one dog. Schouten instructed pet owners to keep an infected pet inside and avoid contact with them until they are recovered. "This is not because we see a great risk for the owners. Contamination from person to person is much more likely." When in doubt, take your pet to the veterinarian, she said.