According to an alert issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the first known cases of the novel coronavirus have been identified in uncaptured wildlife. Utah's wild mink tested positive while testing wild animals around fur farms.
In the United States, coronavirus outbreaks have been documented in 16 mink farms in Utah, Wisconsin, Oregon and Michigan, most of them in Utah. However, to date, despite ongoing testing of minks, raccoons, skunks and other animals around infected farms, no cases of wild mink have been found.
This mink was trapped in the immediate vicinity of one of the affected farms, and Utah's veterinarian Dean Taylor was the only animal tested positive in the area.
The virus has also been found in domestic dogs and cats, as well as in many bred wild animals, including lions, tigers, and snow leopards. Scientists have been racing to determine if other animals are susceptible to infection, paying particular attention to endangered species and animals that can re-transmit to humans. But so far, no wild animals have been found.
It is not clear how wild mink came into contact with infected mink on fur farms.
The USDA has said additional efforts are needed to prevent spread within the large North American wild mink population, but it has not announced a strategy for this.
As of now, it is important for us to pay attention to safety, avoid contact with mink, and follow the safety rules for life.
Maron, D. (2020, December 15). A mink is the first animal in the wild found with the coronavirus. Retrieved December 29, 2020, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/12/wild-mink-tests-positive-coronavirus-utah/
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