Ritzau Scanpix

Belgium closely monitoring its mink farms

The Belgian health science institute Sciensano is monitoring Belgian mink farms after a new strain of coronavirus surfaced at Danish mink farms.  The virus then transferred to at least 12 humans.  Belgium boasts eight mink farms.

“Tests are carried out on a weekly basis to check the new coronavirus strain hasn’t broken out at Belgian mink farms. So far all tests have come back negative” says Steven Van Gucht of Sciensano that also has a large veterinary division. “If the new strain surfaces here, all mink will have to be culled.”

“There are no grounds for greater concern.  The mink virus isn’t more dangerous that the coronavirus we are used to. Mink are very susceptible to the coronavirus circulating among humans.  This is Darwin in action.  The mink caught the virus from humans.  It mutated and then they passed it back on to humans.”

The Danish authorities are taking the new strain seriously and say it could pose a threat to any vaccination effort. Steven Van Gucht believes the new strain is more adapted to mink and less to humans.

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