Mink – Netherlands

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Mink – Netherlands

Added 27 April 2020 | Updated 15 May 2020

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been detected in mink at two fur farms in the Netherlands. Workers at both farms had tested positive for the virus, and it is likely that they transmitted the infection to the animals. It is reported that there are around 20,000 mink between the two farms. The infections were confirmed on Friday, 24th April 2020 by researchers from the Wageningen Bio-veterinary research in Lelystad.

Infected animals were reported to have shown gastrointestinal and respiratory signs, but the report does not state how many animals are affected. Areas around the farms have been closed to the public.


Outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 have been detected at a further two mink farms, in the Netherlands bringing the total number of farms affected to four. Initial research on the first two infected farms show that it is likely  that the virus is being transmitted between mink, but that there is currently no evidence that animals play a role in the spread of the virus to humans. It appears that the infection can lead to pneumonia and death among the minks, but the percentage of sick animals and the death rate is limited, with the disease mainly affecting heavily pregnant animals.

Analysis of air samples taken from outside the mink housing found no evidence of the virus. However, the virus has been found in the immediate vicinity of mink on dust particles within the house. It is still unknown whether people can become infected with COVID-19 through these dust particles.

It has also been reported that 3 out of 11 farm cats at one of the mink farms tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies but tested negative for the virus.


  1. NOS (2020) Coronavirus vastgesteld bij nertsenfokkerijen in Noord-Brabant [online] Available at: https://nos.nl/artikel/2331784-coronavirus-vastgesteld-bij-nertsenfokkerijen-in-noord-brabant.html[Accessed 26 April 2020]
  2. NL Times (2020) Mink found infected with COVID-19 at two Dutch fur farms; areas now closed to public [online] Available at: https://nltimes.nl/2020/04/26/mink-found-infected-covid-19-two-dutch-fur-farms-areas-now-closed-public [Accessed 26 April 2020]
  3. ProMED International Society for Infectious Diseases (2020) Netherlands (NB) animal, farmed mink, spread, rabbit susp [online] Available at: https://promedmail.org/promed-post/?id=20200509.7316646 [Accessed 18 May 2020]
  4. NLTimes (2020) Dutch find coronavirus antibodies in first dog, 3 cats; No risk at mink farms [online] Available at: https://nltimes.nl/2020/05/15/dutch-find-coronavirus-antibodies-first-dog-3-cats-risk-mink-farms [Accessed 18 May 2020] 

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