In DepthCOVID-19

Coronavirus rips through Dutch mink farms, triggering culls

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Science  12 Jun 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6496, pp. 1169
DOI: 10.1126/science.368.6496.1169

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Summary

In a sad sideshow to the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities in the Netherlands began to gas tens of thousands of mink on 6 June, most of them pups born only weeks ago. SARS-CoV-2 has attacked farms that raise the animals for fur, and the Dutch government worries infected mink could become a viral reservoir that could cause new outbreaks in humans. The mink outbreaks are "spillover" from the human pandemic—a zoonosis in reverse that has offered scientists in the Netherlands a unique chance to study how the virus jumps between species and burns through large animal populations. But they're also a public health problem. Genetic and epidemiological sleuthing has shown that at least two farm workers have caught the virus from mink.

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