First case of Coronavirus in a Mink
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed the first case of the coronavirus in a wild animal called mink on December 14, 2020.
- The USDA confirmed the case in a “free-ranging, wild mink” in Utah. It was confirmed as a part of wildlife surveillance around infected farms.
- Other animals from different wildlife species were also sampled. But they were tested negative.
- However, no evidence of the widespread of the virus has been found in wild populations around infected mink farms.
- The virus has also been found in zoo tigers, household cats and dogs.
Cause of concern
The confirmation of coronavirus in a Mink has increases concerns about outbreaks of the disease in mink. The virus has already killed more than 15,000 farmed mink in the United States since August 2020.
They are dark-colored, carnivorous, semiaquatic mammals of the genera Neovison and Mustela. They are the part of family Mustelidae. This famly also include weasels, ferrets and otters. There are two types of mink species- the American mink and the European mink. American mink is larger and more adaptable than the European mink. However, an individual mink cannot be determined as European or American without looking at the skeleton. The European mink can be identified with a large white patch on their upper lip. Such white patches are found only in some of the American mink. The fur of the American Mink is highly prized for clothing. As per the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to release mink into the wild in the United Kingdom.