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COVID-19 could put mink industry at risk

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – The mink industry could be hit hard by the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is currently investigating outbreaks in Europe and as of this week, the United States.

Two mink farms in Utah were forced to quarantine.

There are currently no confirmed COVID-19 cases within Wisconsin’s $223 million industry, which is the largest in the country.

Wisconsin State Veterinarian, Dr. Darlene Konkle spoke about the risks, should the virus spread to Wisconsin.

“We think these animals have become infected due to contact with infected people,” Dr. Konkle said. “We don’t feel that companion animals, or livestock, including farm animals, including mink, play a significant role in the spread.”

Dr. Konkle also mentioned that the numbers for animal infection of the virus remain low in general. Only two dogs have tested positive for the virus in Wisconsin.

“We have had some animals tested in Wisconsin, most have been negative,” Dr Konkle said “So some species of animals seem to be more susceptible than others and mink would be in that category, and cats. Typical livestock such as cattle, pigs, poultry so far do not seem to be susceptible. There are a limited number of studies so far though.”

NBC15 News called nearly a dozen mink farmers across the state. None of expressed any concern about the spread between mink or other animals in Wisconsin.

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