Coronavirus has been found in mink on two more fur farms in Noord Brabant as well as in dust particles in the barns they are kept in, the farm ministry has confirmed.
The virus was identified on one farm in Deuren with 1,500 animals and one in De Mortel with 10,000. Mink on two other farms in the area were found to have coronavirus in late April and two of the four have the same owner.
Officials are now carrying out checks on all other mink farms in the area and an area 400 metres from each affected farm has been sealed off.
The investigation into the first two cases has shown that the virus causes lung infections in mink but that they suffer few other symptoms and the death rate is low. Pregnant mink have the highest risk, the ministry said.
The mink are thought to have picked up the virus from farm workers. The virus has also been found in dust particles in the barn where the mink are kept but not outside, the farm ministry said.
‘It is not clear if humans can become infected with Covid-19 via these particles,’ the ministry said. ‘So it is important that farm workers continue to take personal safety precautions as advised by the local health board.’
The investigation has shown that the first two infections are unrelated and that subsequently the infection was passed from mink to mink.
The Netherlands introduced a ban on fur farming in 2013 which includes an 11-year changeover period and Noord-Brabant is the centre of the Dutch industry.
In 2016, the Netherlands had some 160 fur farms producing five million pelts a year and the country was the third biggest fur farming nation in the world behind Denmark and China.
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