Coronavirus: Netherlands officials probe 2 mink farms after animals test positive

Barrier tape cordons off buildings of a mink farm at Beek en Donk, in the eastern after tests showed that animals within the buildings had been infected with coronavirus.

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Barrier tape cordons off buildings of a mink farm at Beek en Donk, in the eastern after tests showed that animals within the buildings had been infected with coronavirus.

Authorities in The Netherlands launched an investigation into two mink farms after the animal exhibited respiratory symptoms and tested positive for the coronavirus, The Washington Post reported.

In a statement, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality said a review of how the outbreaks began on the farms in the southern Netherlands is ongoing. However, officials believe the minks caught the virus from humans working at the farm, the Post reported.

“There are currently no indications that farm animals or pets play a role in the spread of COVID-19,” the ministry said.

According to Reuters, ministry officials said the possibility the animals could spread the virus to humans -- or even other animals -- was "minimal," citing advice from national health authorities.

The announcement by Dutch officials comes three days after federal officials announced that two pet cats in New York had tested positive. That marked the first cases of companion animals in the United States to test positive.

Earlier this month, a tiger tested positive at the Bronx Zoo in New York City.

In The Netherlands, authorities took samples from sick and healthy animals on the mink farm, along with air and dust samples, the Post reported.

Authorities urged people to avoid coming within 1,312 feet of the affected farms until test results are finalized, the newspaper reported.

The ministry also banned the movement of animals and manure from the affected farms, the Post reported. The agency also required mink farmers to report any unusual symptoms or deaths. The measures do not apply to other livestock.

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