COVID-19 in B.C.: Second mink farm in Fraser Valley under quarantine after animals test positive

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      A second mink farm in the Fraser Valley has been found to have COVID-19.

      The B.C. Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries Ministry stated in a news release today (December 24) that three mink that died on a second Fraser Valley mink farm have tested positive for COVID-19.

      The mink were tested after some of the animals had diarrhea, which can be a symptom of COVID-19 in mink. Between December 19 and 23, 23 mink died at the farm.

      No workers at the site have yet tested positive. The location is not being identified, due to the Animal Health Act “which prohibits the disclosure of information that would identify a specific place where an animal is located”.

      The farm has been placed under quarantine, and a plan for feeding and taking care of the mink the outbreak has been established.

      Fraser Health has not yet announced if an outbreak has been declared.

      Previously, Fraser Health declared an outbreak on December 6 at a different mink farm, also in the Fraser Health region, where both workers and animals tested positive for COVID-19. Eight workers had tested positive as of December 6.

      Between December 4 and 9, about 200 mink died at this farm after the outbreak.

      Genetic analysis of the virus has revealed that both humans and animals were infected with “an identical or nearly identical strain”.

      As the detected strain has been circulating among people in B.C., the transmission was from humans to animals rather than the reverse.

      Health officials in numerous countries have been concerned about a mutation that has appeared at mink farms in Europe, as the variation may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.

      Meanwhile, COVID-19 variants have been detected in humans in the U.K. and South Africa, and reports emerged today that a third variation may have been found in Nigeria.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.