Researcher Wim van der Poel of Wageningen University is concerned about the most recent corona infection that has been found at a mink farm in Rijkevoort. In his words, that company was ‘very strongly positive’. “All the animals we tested there were found to be infected,” he said.
According to the researcher, it remains to be seen whether the recently refined rules by the ministry will have an effect. This will become apparent if infected companies are added in the near future. According to the Wageningen researcher, that risk always remains. “Especially now that the virus is flaring up in people again,” he says.
Van der Poel does not expect any new measures for mink farms before mid-August. A few weeks ago, the special Outbreak Management Team-Zoonoses advised the ministry to start clearing mink farms if new infections were added after mid-August.
According to the researcher, the 27 mink farms, 23 of which in Brabant, which have been declared infected so far, can be divided into five clusters. This means that the source of the contamination within those clusters is the same, research has shown.
That source can be an employee or a visitor who introduced the virus to the various companies. “Think of a supplier who has visited various companies,” explains Van der Poel. But it can also be because an animal or manure has been brought from one farm to another.
Man on mink
The very first infections on mink farms were caused by transmission from humans to mink, Van der Poel continues. “We know for sure because we can determine that an employee of a company, for example, was infected earlier than that mink was infected, and the virus showed clear similarities. We can no longer accurately trace the source for subsequent infections. But we do see connections between the infections on different farms. ”
In almost all cases, when mink dies from the virus, severe pneumonia is the cause of death. According to Van der Poel, this has now also become apparent from research.