A Fraser Valley mink farm has been placed under quarantine after one mink on the farm tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 in humans.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, two additional minks are suspected to be positive for the virus but are awaiting confirmation of testing.
In total, 20 minks were tested for the virus as part of BC’s general surveillance procedures, with the one positive test result confirmed on May 17, 2021. The farm has approximately 25,000 animals, “the remainder of which appear healthy and are not displaying any symptoms of illness,” officials said.
At this point, it unknown how the mink contracted the virus. The ministry said it is working with stakeholders to identify potential sources, and a plan is in place to provide feed and care to the mink during the outbreak.
“No workers on the farm have tested positive for COVID-19 to date, and all have received or been offered their first dose of vaccination,” the ministry said.
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This is the third mink farm in BC to have animals test positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, the ministry said. Genetic analysis conducted on samples of SARS-CoV-2 taken from the two farms shows that people and animals were infected with an identical or nearly identical strain. The strain detected in those cases had been circulating in people in BC, indicating COVID-19 spread from people to animals, not the other way around.
The ministry said it is not releasing the specific locations of all farms, as per Section 16.1 of the Animal Health Act, which prohibits the disclosure of information that would identify a specific place where an animal is located.