Mink May Have Passed Infection to Humans

'This would be the first known cases of animal-to-human transmission'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2020 4:05 PM CDT
Updated May 27, 2020 5:05 PM CDT
Mink-Farm Workers May Have Caught Virus From Animals
Dutch officials say the risk of being infected by an animal outside a mink farm is "negligible."   (AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger, File)

Officials say they have detected the first likely case of the coronavirus jumping from an animal to a human—but so far the risk is limited to mink farms in Holland. The World Health Organization tells AFP that three workers infected on mink farms "would be the first known cases of animal-to-human transmission," but they are "still collecting and reviewing more data to understand if animals and pets can spread the disease." Dutch authorities say they detected the virus at four of the country's 155 mink farms. They suspect the animals might have originally caught the virus from infected humans.

Authorities say the mink-farm workers were infected before they knew the animals could carry the virus and they were not wearing protective equipment. Researchers say that while there has been a handful of cases of people infecting their pets, they hadn't seen infection work the other way around before. "This is the first time we've found, at least we've shown that it's likely, that in two cases the infection has gone from animal to human," said Jaap van Dissel, the country's top health official, per Deutsche Welle. "Of course the original source of infection in China was also very likely animals." (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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