In battle against coronavirus, Spain to cull nearly 100,000 mink
Spain, which was once among the top five countries affected by the novel coronavirus, obviously doesn't want an exponential rise in cases again. Hence, it has decided to cull nearly 100,000 mink, after a farm employee's wife tested coronavirus-positive in Aragon province. Health authorities found that hundreds of mink at the farm in north-eastern Spain had contracted the infection. Here are more details.
Mink were isolated over concerns that they were carriers
According to BBC, the farm worker's wife tested positive in May. Soon, her husband and six other workers also contracted the infection. Over concerns that mink had passed on the virus to humans, authorities isolated and monitored the animals. Tellingly, mink could have been infected by humans as well. On July 13, authorities learned a staggering 87% mink had contracted the deadly virus.
Decision taken to avoid transmission to humans: Minister
Reports said 92,700 mink will be culled. Confirming the development, Joaquin Olona, Aragon's Minister of Agriculture, said the decision was taken to "to avoid the risk of human transmission." To note, Aragon, just like capital Madrid and city Catalonia, is one of the COVID-19 hotspots. Since the start of the pandemic, 28,416 have died in Spain and some 305,935 got infected.
Netherlands also culled thousands of mink to curtail transmission
However, Olana maintained there is no evidence to suggest animal-to-human transmission or vice versa. Officials said the company which runs the farm would be compensated. Mink are bred for their fur but have been culled in thousands in the last few months. In the Netherlands, thousands of them have been slaughtered since the onset of the pandemic. 20 farms were said to be infected.
WHO had also spoken about transmission between humans and animals
Though little is known about animal-to-human transmission or vice versa, the fact that workers at mink farms got infected wasn't ignored. In June, WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove didn't negate the possibility of humans infecting mink and also getting infected by them. "We are learning about what this actually means in terms of transmission and what role they [mink] may play," she had said.