17 Million Minks to Be Euthanized in Denmark After Spreading COVID-19 to Humans, Now in Michigan

DENMARK- 17 Million farm-raised minks who were set to be slaughtered for their pelts and shipped to China will meet an early demise after a new strain of COVID-19 has infected several people in that country.

The Danish government said 12 people have been infected by a new strain of COVID-19 tracked back to the mink farms and slaughterhouses.   The new strain, according to the government may have infected as many as 400 people.  Over 250,000 Danes are now in a new lockdown in the country which started Friday.   Denmark has 1,139 mink farms.

“The virus has mutated in mink. The mutated virus has spread to humans,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said.    “We must knock down completely this virus variant.”

In October, a mink farm in Michigan had several of the critters test positive.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) confirmed the recent discovery of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans) in mink at a Michigan farm. While this finding is not the first case of the virus being identified in mink in the United States, it is the first instance of the virus being confirmed among Michigan’s farmed mink population.

After several mink exhibited signs of illness and died on the farm, the owner submitted samples for diagnosis. The Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab completed necropsies on two of the affected animals, which tested presumptive positive for SARS-CoV-2. The samples were then sent to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories for confirmatory testing.

Investigations into how the mink contracted the virus are ongoing, but there is currently no evidence that animals, including mink, play a significant role in spreading the virus to humans in Michigan. The Michigan farm is self-contained, has few staff, and prohibits domestic animals from being onsite, so the likelihood of the virus moving to wildlife, pets, or people is quite low. MDARD is working in cooperation with other local, state, and federal agencies on this response.

This very sad story is developing.