Mink farms: Up to 3 more people infected with coronavirus by animals

There may have been another case of mink to human coronavirus transmission at a second mink farm in the Netherlands. Three people who work at this mink farm have a coronavirus that has a genetic code very similar to the virus found in minks on the farm, Ministers Carola Schouten of Agriculture and Hugo de Jonge of Public Health said in a letter to parliament.

"On the basis of the information available, it is most likely that at least one of the three infected persons was infected by a mink," the Ministers said. The other two may have gotten the virus from the first infected person, or also from a mink. Based on the available data, that is impossible to say, the Ministers said.

Schouten reported the first possible case of mink to human coronavirus transmission at a Dutch mink farm last week. In the meantime, the RIVM investigated everyone that this mink farm worker had contact with and found that none of them had a coronavirus with a genetic code that matches the one the farm worker has. "This supports the conclusion that it is plausible that there was a contamination of mink on human," the Ministers said on Monday. 

According to the Ministers, in this second case too the infection "probably" happened before it was known that the mink on the farm had the coronavirus, and thus before workers were instructed to wear protective gear. "The RIVM has indicated that the correct and consistent use of personal protective equipment in the stables of an infected mink farm prevents infection. The RIVM also assessed that the risk of human exposure to the virus outside the stable is negligible and that has not changed due to this new research result," the Ministers said.