Story at a glance
- Denmark’s prime minister announced plans to cull the country’s entire mink population over concerns of the mutated strain.
- There are at least 12 known cases in which humans have been infected with the mutated virus that originated on mink farms.
- Denmark is one of the world’s largest mink fur exporters, and the culling of the country’s 15 million minks could cost $785 million.
Denmark plans to cull its entire mink population after a mutation of the novel coronavirus found in the animals has spread to humans.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen made the announcement Wednesday citing concerns that the mutated strain has shown reduced susceptibility to antibodies, which could potentially threaten the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines currently in development.
“It requires very resolute action. And as a government we will do everything we can to ensure that the mutated infection is contained and does not spread further,” Frederiksen said.
“That’s why - unfortunately - it’s necessary to put down all mink in Denmark. Breeding animals too,” she said.
Health authorities in Denmark said there are at least 12 known cases in which humans have been infected with the mutated virus that originated on mink farms.
The findings from the State Serum Institute have been shared with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
“We have been informed by Denmark of a number of persons infected with coronavirus from mink, with some genetic changes in the virus,” WHO said in a statement to Reuters. “The Danish authorities are investigating the epidemiological and virological significance of these findings.”
Denmark is one of the world’s largest mink fur exporters and the culling of the country’s 15 million minks could cost $785 million, according to The Associated Press (AP).
Outbreaks at mink farms have persisted in Denmark over the course of the coronavirus pandemic despite ongoing efforts by the government to cull herds of infected animals. Last month, Denmark began culling millions of minks in the northern part of the country.
A total of 207 out of the 1,139 fur farms in the country have experienced coronavirus outbreaks, according to AP.
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