While the number of those confirmed infected with the coronavirus in the US continues to rise, we are now learning that humans aren't the only potential victims of the disease.
Since the early days of the pandemic, we have heard reports of various animals testing positive for COVID-19 in the US. Those confirmed included tigers at the Bronx Zoo as well as those household pets such as cats and even dogs.
Now comes reports of yet another animal in the US that has been confirmed with the coronavirus—that of Minks. In a report on August 17th, coming from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Minks at two separate farms located in Utah has been confirmed to have been tested positive for COVID-19. After both farms were reportedly experiencing an unusually high number of deaths, they were prompted to test the animals for the virus.
The fact that the animals tested positive is no surprise, as Minks in other countries outside the US have come up positive as well. In the Netherlands, since June, an estimated 12 Mink farms had shown their livestock as infected by the virus. There are also reports in Spain of an outbreak having been discovered.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that although there have been reports in the US of both cats and dogs having tested positive for the virus, that are believed to having contracted the virus from their human owners. There is no currently definitive evidence that pets are able to transmit the infection to people. However, some experts in the field of infectious diseases say that when it comes to Minks, they can possibly spread the virus to humans.
Richard Ostfeld, a researcher at an institute in New York, feels that the possibility of the virus being transmitted from minks to humans is more than a little worrisome. He said we need to be indeed worried about the fact that it may be possible for domesticated animals to transmit the virus to humans.
With no confirmed cases of mink to human transmission to date in the US, officials are hesitant to say that the animals are currently a health threat. The USDA reminds us that there is currently no evidence indicating that any animals, including Minks, play a significant role in the transmitting of the virus to humans.
Do you think that we can contract the coronavirus known as COVID-19 from our pets?