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Michigan finds virus that causes COVID-19 in mink at farm

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

The virus that causes COVID-19 in humans has been discovered in mink at a Michigan farm, the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said Friday.

The finding was not the first case of the virus in mink in the United States but was the "first instance of the virus being confirmed among Michigan’s farmed mink population," the announcement said.

Mink

Several mink exhibited signs of illness and died on the farm, and the owner submitted samples for diagnosis, according to the department. The Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory studied two of the affected animals, which tested presumptive positive for SARS-CoV-2.

"Investigations into how the mink contracted the virus are ongoing, but there is currently no evidence that animals, including mink, play a significant role in spreading the virus to humans in Michigan," according to state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. "The Michigan farm is self-contained, has few staff and prohibits domestic animals from being onsite, so the likelihood of the virus moving to wildlife, pets or people is quite low."

Worldwide, it's been known that mink are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 since the virus was discovered in mink on farms in the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain, the state department added.

cmauger@detroitnews.com