Mink may have spread coronavirus to human

A mink is suspected of transmitting the novel coronavirus to a human. Credit: Peter Trimming

Dutch authorities suspect a mink has transmitted the novel coronavirus to a worker at a mink farm in the Netherlands. If confirmed, it would be the first clear evidence of COVID-19 spreading from a specific species to a human.

Mink on at least three farms have tested positive for the virus. Authorities suspect feral cats may be spreading the virus between farms. The virus at two farms appeared to be closely related and three cats at one farm had antibodies to the virus. Officials initially believed humans had spread the virus to the minks, but genome analysis suggested the transmission went the other way.

Officials initially thought minks at the farms contracted the virus from humans, but based on genome analysis they now think a farm worker got sick from the mink. The worker who contracted the virus has recovered.

Researchers previously found that ferrets and cats were particularly susceptible to the virus.

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