The Dutch agriculture ministry on Monday said it had found what it believes to be the second case of a human becoming infected with the new coronavirus after coming in contact with a mink that had the virus.
On April 26, the Dutch government reported mink on a farm in the south of the country had been found to have the disease, prompting a wider investigation of such farms, where the semiaquatic mammals are bred for their fur. Last week the government reported its first suspected case of mink-to-human transmission.
In a letter to parliament, AgricultureMinister Carola Schouten repeated that the country’s National Institute for Health believes the risk of animal-to-human transmission of the virus outside the farms on which they are kept is “negligible.”
Veterinarians have criticized the measures taken so far by authorities, which they consider to be too lenient, and demanded mink populations at the farms should be exterminated to prevent further spread of the pathogen.
The carnivorous mammals belong to the same family as weasels, otters, and ferrets.
Breeding animals for the fur industry was prohibited in the Netherlands in 2013 and existing farms, such as the one where the virus had been found, are set to close their gates after a transition period ending on 1 January, 2024.