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Hundreds Of Vision Infected With Covid Could Have Escaped Danish Fur Farms, Extending The New Tension Of Coronavirus

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Each year thousands of minks escape from Danish fur farms, and with 5 percent of the farm minks infected with COVID-19, this means there could be hundreds of the diesease-carriers in the wild. Scientists have warned that the diseased mink could create a new uncontrollable store and vector for the transmission of coronvirus to humans.

Minks have been linked to a new strain of the virus that could pose a risk to future COVID vaccines. Efforts to cull infected mink in Denmark began in June but outbreaks at mink farms have continued.

Sten Mortensen, veterinary research manager at the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, told The Guardian: “Every year, a few thousand mink escape. We know that because they are an invasive species and every year hunters and trappers kill a few thousand wild mink. The population of escaped mink is quite stable.”

This year there was a risk that around 5 percent of the escaped mink were infected with the virus, according to Mortensen.

The most likely method of transmission in the wild would be an animal eating an infected mink or via their feces, Mortensen noted. However, the risk of the escaped mink infecting other animals is low because mink are “very solitary creatures,” he added.

If the mink do spread the virus to other animals, those most likely to be infected include wild animals such as ferrets and raccoon dogs as well as “susceptible domestic animals” such as cats, according to Mortensen.

Scientists warned the escaped mink could broaden the infection range of the virus by introducing into the wild.

Joanne Santini, a professor of microbiology at University College London in the U.K. capital, told The Guardian: “The virus could broaden its host-range [and] infect other species of animals that it wouldn’t ordinarily be able to infect. It will become extremely difficult to control its further spread to animals and then back to humans.”

Marion Koopmans, head of the Erasmus Medical Center department of viroscience at Rotterdam’s Erasmus University in The Netherlands, told The Guardian: “Sars-CoV-2 could potentially continue to circulate in large-scale farms or be introduced to escaped and wild mustelids [weasels, badgers, otters, ferrets, martens, minks, and wolverines] or other wildlife.

“In theory, as avian flu and swine influenza viruses do, [the virus could] continue to evolve in their animal hosts, constituting a permanent pandemic threat to humans and animals,” Koopmans added.

Newsweek has contacted the Danish Veterinary Association and the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food for comment.

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