Minks in Iceland to Be Screened for Coronavirus

Vala Hafstað

The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority has decided to screen  for the coronavirus at all mink farms in Iceland, Morgunblaðið reports. The reason is that in Denmark, a mutated strain of the virus was carried from a mink to a person at a mink farm, causing authorities there to decide to kill all minks in their country.

According to Sigríður Gísladóttir, veterinarian for the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority, what happened in Denmark is that the coronavirus spread from a person to a mink and was subsequently carried to other minks, after which it spread from a mink to a person in a mutated form – against which the vaccines being developed would not be effective.

In Iceland, minks at all nine mink farms operated in the country will be screened. How exactly that will be done remains to be determined. There are a total of 15,000 female minks at these farms, producing 60,000 furs a year. 

No case of COVID-19 is suspected at any of the farms, and the chances of the disease being transmitted to the wild mink population are thought to be small, since wild minks rarely come into contact with people.

If a case of COVID-19 is confirmed at a mink farm, then further actions will be determined in consultation with health authorities. The decision by Danish authorities to kill all minks in their country puts the matter in a new light, Sigríður states. Mink farmers have been asked to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and to treat the minks as a sensitive group.

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