New outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 on Polish mink farms means 37,000 mink will be culled
According to official information from the General Veterinary Inspectorate, a new SARS-CoV-2 mink farm outbreak has been detected in Poland. This is the second outbreak of coronavirus detected on mink farms in Poland.
The outbreak was detected in two farms which hold a total of 8,000 breeding females and 29,000 young mink, both located at the same address in the Biała-Podlaska district.
The presence of the virus was discovered from the results of laboratory tests carried out at the State Veterinary Institute in Puławy. The samples were collected on June 16, as part of ongoing disease control procedures put in place after the dramatic outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 across European mink farms in 2020.
The inspectorate reported that “all control procedures foreseen in the event of SARS-CoV-2 in mink” had been implemented on the farms where the infection was identified.
The local veterinary inspector confirmed that all mink on these farms, a total of around 37,000 animals, will be culled.
Earlier this year Eurogroup for Animals and the Fur Free Alliance released a scientific statement on public health risks associated with SARS-CoV-2 and intensive mink production, signed by numerous scientists from the fields of virology, infectious diseases, clinical microbiology, veterinary medicine and environmental health.
Despite the mandatory SARS-CoV-2 screening of all European mink farms introduced by the European Commission, in addition to the introduction of more stringent disease prevention methods, this outbreak demonstrates that the risk of continued spread of the virus on fur farms is still extremely high.
We are calling on the European Commission to act immediately to suspend mink farming across the European Union to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, to protect human and animal health.
Wildlife experts in Washington, D.C., and nearby states say they have not identified the cause of recent deaths of many birds in the region, but they are encouraging the public to temporarily cease feeding birds to avoid the potential spread of disease at feeders.
In late May, wildlife managers and rehabbers in Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia began receiving reports of sick and dying birds with eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs.
The District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, and National Park Service are continuing to work with diagnostic laboratories to investigate the cause of mortality. Those laboratories include the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, the University of Georgia Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, and the University of Pennsylvania Wildlife Futures Program.
A report on the National Wildlife Health Center’s WHISPers site, which summarizes incidents of wildlife illnesses and mortality nationwide, shows 37 dead or sick birds — Common Grackles, Blue Jays, American Robins, and European Starlings — from several counties in Virginia on May 20.
Birds congregating at feeders and baths can transmit disease to one another. Therefore, the state and district agencies recommend that the public in the outbreak area:Advertisement
Cease feeding birds until this wildlife mortality event has concluded;
Clean feeders and bird baths with a 10% bleach solution;
Avoid handling birds, but wear disposable gloves if handling is necessary; and
Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a standard precaution.
If you encounter sick or dead birds, please contact your state or district wildlife conservation agency. If you must remove dead birds, place them in a sealable plastic bag to dispose with household trash. Additional information will be shared as diagnostic results are received.
Thanks to the U.S. Geological Survey for providing this news.
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