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PLoS Pathog ; 17(11): e1010068, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518369


Mink, on a farm with about 15,000 animals, became infected with SARS-CoV-2. Over 75% of tested animals were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in throat swabs and 100% of tested animals were seropositive. The virus responsible had a deletion of nucleotides encoding residues H69 and V70 within the spike protein gene as well as the A22920T mutation, resulting in the Y453F substitution within this protein, seen previously in mink. The infected mink recovered and after free-testing of 300 mink (a level giving 93% confidence of detecting a 1% prevalence), the animals remained seropositive. During further follow-up studies, after a period of more than 2 months without any virus detection, over 75% of tested animals again scored positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Whole genome sequencing showed that the viruses circulating during this re-infection were most closely related to those identified in the first outbreak on this farm but additional sequence changes had occurred. Animals had much higher levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in serum samples after the second round of infection than at free-testing or during recovery from initial infection, consistent with a boosted immune response. Thus, it was concluded that following recovery from an initial infection, seropositive mink were readily re-infected by SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19/veterinary , COVID-19/virology , Mink/immunology , Mink/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Farms , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Mutation , Pharynx/virology , Phylogeny , RNA, Viral , Reinfection/virology , Whole Genome Sequencing
Euro Surveill ; 26(5)2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1067624


In June-November 2020, SARS-CoV-2-infected mink were detected in 290 of 1,147 Danish mink farms. In North Denmark Region, 30% (324/1,092) of people found connected to mink farms tested SARS-CoV-2-PCR-positive and approximately 27% (95% confidence interval (CI): 25-30) of SARS-CoV-2-strains from humans in the community were mink-associated. Measures proved insufficient to mitigate spread. On 4 November, the government ordered culling of all Danish mink. Farmed mink constitute a potential virus reservoir challenging pandemic control.

Animals, Wild/virology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary , Disease Outbreaks/veterinary , Disease Reservoirs/veterinary , Disease Transmission, Infectious/veterinary , Mink/virology , Pandemics/veterinary , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Zoonoses/transmission , Animals , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Denmark/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks/statistics & numerical data , Disease Reservoirs/virology , Farms , Genes, Viral , Humans , Incidence , Polymerase Chain Reaction , Public Health , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Viral Zoonoses/virology , Whole Genome Sequencing , Zoonoses/transmission , Zoonoses/virology
Animals (Basel) ; 11(1)2021 Jan 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024522


SARS-CoV-2 infection is the cause of COVID-19 in humans. In April 2020, SARS-CoV-2 infection in farmed mink (Neovision vision) occurred in the Netherlands. The first outbreaks in Denmark were detected in June 2020 in three farms. A steep increase in the number of infected farms occurred from September and onwards. Here, we describe prevalence data collected from 215 infected mink farms to characterize spread and impact of disease in infected farms. In one third of the farms, no clinical signs were observed. In farms with clinical signs, decreased feed intake, increased mortality and respiratory symptoms were most frequently observed, during a limited time period (median of 11 days). In 65% and 69% of farms, virus and sero-conversion, respectively, were detected in 100% of sampled animals at the first sampling. SARS-CoV-2 was detected, at low levels, in air samples collected close to the mink, on mink fur, on flies, on the foot of a seagull, and in gutter water, but not in feed. Some dogs and cats from infected farms tested positive for the virus. Chickens, rabbits, and horses sampled on a few farms, and wildlife sampled in the vicinity of the infected farms did not test positive for SARS-CoV-2. Thus, mink are highly susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2, but routes of transmission between farms, other than by direct human contact, are unclear.