But WHO's Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said at a news conference last month that such transmission was “very limited.”
“This gives us some clues about which animals may be susceptible to infection and this will help us as we learn more about the potential animal reservoir of (the virus),” she said, referring to cases in the Netherlands and Denmark, another major producer of mink fur.
While scientists think the virus originated in bats, it may have passed through another animal before infecting people. A WHO team is currently in China, planning to study the issue.
More than 1.1 million minks have been killed on 26 Dutch farms that recorded outbreaks, according to the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority.
The government announced Thursday that minks at a 27th farm also were infected and would be killed.
The Netherlands, which has some 160 mink farms, is the world’s fourth-biggest producer of the prized fur after Denmark, China, and Poland, according to Wim Verhagen, director of the Dutch federation of fur farmers.
Spain has 38 active mink breeding operations, most of them in northwestern Galicia.
Both Spain and the Netherlands have tightened hygiene protocols at mink farms and banned transportation of the animals and visits to the buildings where they are kept.
China, which produces about a third of the mink fur market, and the United States have not reported any virus outbreaks in minks or in animals at other farms.
(Writers: Aritz Parra, Mike Corder)
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