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Coronavirus strain found in Polish mink can pass to humans

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A strain of the coronavirus discovered in mink on a farm in northern Poland can be transmitted to humans and vice versa, the agriculture ministry said on Saturday.

COVID-19 was found in mink in Kartuzy county late last month, in what agriculture officials said was the first such case in Poland, raising fears of costly culls in an industry that counts over 350 farms in the country.

Polish medical staff work at a mink farm in a village near Kartuzy, northern Poland, 01 February 2021. The first case of SARS-CoV-2 infection in mink has been registered in Poland, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced on 31 January evening.. EPA-EFE/Adam Warzawa

“Data obtained from the chief sanitary inspectorate and last year’s experiences in Denmark and the Netherlands clearly indicate that also in Poland, this virus can spread from mink to humans and vice versa,” the ministry said in a statement.

Denmark’s entire herd of some 17 million mink, one of the world’s biggest, was ordered to be culled in early November after hundreds of farms suffered outbreaks of coronavirus and authorities found mutated strains of the virus among people.

In August, the Netherlands decided to order the closure of more than 100 mink farms after several employees contracted COVID-19.

Following the discovery of COVID-19 at the farm in Kartuzy county, Polish authorities said all mink there would be culled.

Main Photo: File photo of a mink by EPA-EFE/Mads Claus Rasmussen

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