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Spain orders slaughter of 92,700 mink to avoid human transmission as Covid-19 rips through farm in Aragon

Spain orders slaughter of 92,700 mink to avoid human transmission as Covid-19 rips through farm in Aragon
Over 92,000 mink will be culled in northeast Spain after testing revealed almost all of the creatures at a farm in Aragon were infected with Covid-19.

Aragon’s Agriculture Minister Joaquin Olona said some 92,700 mink will be slaughtered “to avoid the risk of human transmission,” after two more workers tested positive at the farm this week and the latest testing of the mink revealed that 87 percent of the sample were infected.

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Seven workers tested positive at the farm in Puebla de Valverde in May, after the wife of an employee was found to have contracted the virus. The farm was then placed under close observation.

The mink are believed to have been infected by one of the workers. However, Olona said it isn’t clear if “transmission [is] possible from animals to humans and vice versa.”

Aragon is a coronavirus hotspot in Spain, with over 250,000 cases and 28,000 deaths recorded since the start of the outbreak. The farm will be compensated for the loss of the mink, which are bred for their fur. 

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Hundreds of thousands of mink have already been culled in the Netherlands and Denmark. Two farm workers were infected at a mink farm in the Netherlands in May, in what the World Health Organization told AFP could be the “first known cases of animal-to-human transmission.” 

WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove told a press conference in June that ongoing probes into the cases in Denmark and the Netherlands suggest “there were individuals who infected the minks, people who infected the mink, and in turn some of these mink infected some people.” She said that it is a “very limited” transmission between people and the mink, and that the WHO is learning about “what this actually means in terms of transmission and what role they may play.”

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