How Minks Can Prolong The Virus For Years

How Minks Can Prolong The Virus For Years

Noah MacAulay, Writer

A Danish Mink fur farm has been infecting small margins of the Minks that they contain and occasionally those Mink can escape infecting many different wildlife species that can reintroduce new variants back to humans.

Due to the tight constraints of the fur farm and the proximity to humans, a portion of Mink have been estimated to be infected which may not be any problem on its own if Mink are then ‘disposed’ of. Only when Mink escape which is no new event having a couple of thousand Mink escape a year is when we should start being concerned. According to Sten Mortensen, veterinary research manager at the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration around five percent of the escaped Mink are infected with covid-19. Mortensen later said that the risk of Minks infecting other animals is low since Minks are loners and only partake in social interactions to breed. Mortensen said however low the odds of infection should Minks infect animals it would most likely infect “wild animals such as ferrets and raccoon dogs and susceptible domestic animals such as cats.” This transmission would mainly occur to animals who are predators to Minks as eating their corpses or coming into contact with Mink wastes (poop) could lead to new infection. 

Minks similar to humans do not normally die to covid-19 but unlike humans usually recover well and quickly with the worst effects being only a few days of breathing difficulties and then developing immunity.

Microbiologist Joanne Santini has gone on to say that once covid hits the wild “it will become extremely difficult to control its further spread to animals and then back to humans”… “Transmission to the wild meant the virus could broaden its host-range and infect other species of animals that it wouldn’t ordinarily be able to infect”. This means that new animal species could be infected and then spread new versions of Covid-19 back to humans many possible times forcing us to continually come up with new vaccines. This is backed up by Prof Marion Koopmans who said that if enough animals got infected it could “in theory, as avian flu and swine influenza viruses do, continue to evolve in their animal hosts, constituting a permanent pandemic threat to humans and animals.”

Dr. John Easley research director at Fur Commission USA said he thinks once a vaccine is developed it should become available to Mink farmers across the globe to hopefully end the potential risk for animals and covid. This vaccine however may not be so available to lower end Mink farms as estimated vaccine costs are $4-$20 a dose meaning that a lower end professional fur farm with only a million or so Minks would have to pay a minimum of 4 million dollars to afford all their vaccines and even if Minks get half a dose (excluding syringe costs) that’s still 2 million dollars to ensure your animals are protected covid, and if we use the highest estimate of $20 per vaccine that’s 10 million dollars for a low-end fur farm! (assuming each animal gets half a dose) Keep in mind that the fur farm mentioned in this article has 15-17 million Minks meaning vaccinizing animals just later kill them is a cost some business owners may not want to take meaning that some farms could become Mink Covid risks in the future should corporate greed set in.

In conclusion, if humans don’t intervene in some way there is a chance that covid infections could spread and mutate in the wild giving humans a constant source of illness and constant demand for vaccines, sadly if things get to that state (which keep in mind according to professors is unlikely so don’t be too paranoid) there will be few ways to rectify it but one of those solutions could be hunters killing large amounts of Minks reducing the population but keeping humans safe. 

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