Dutch authorities will introduce mandatory coronavirus testing on all mink fur farms in the Netherlands after it’s believed a worker contracted the virus from one of the animals.
The new measure was introduced after ongoing research found “transmission of new coronavirus from mink to human”.
"On the basis of new research results from the ongoing research into Covid-19 infections at mink farms, it is plausible that an infection took place from mink to human," the Dutch government said, CNN reports.
The research also found that a mink with COVID-19 was asymptomatic.
Euronnews reports that cases of the virus were found in two farms in the Netherlands in April after workers noticed some minks were having difficulties breathing.
It was believed then the animals had been infected by humans but the new research suggest it happened the other way around.
Although the Dutch government said “the risk of the virus being transmitted from mink to human outside mink sheds remains negligible” the Agriculture minister Carola Schouten has imposed restrictions on mink farm owners and veterinarians to report all symptoms pointing to COVID-19 to the health authorities.
All employees are now required to wear protective equipment. Animals and manure on infected farms are not to leave the site
The research also found that antibodies to the virus were found in three out of 11 farm cats on one of the infected farms and is examining the potential role of farm cats transmitting the virus.
Pending further research, mink-farm owners are advised to ensure that cats cannot enter or exit the site.
The government also urged the public to keep pets indoors but stated “the risk of people being infected by their pet remains small”.
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