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Several mink die of COVID-19 virus at a Michigan farm

They are believed to be the first cases involving mink in the state
FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2012, file photo, minks look out of a cage at a fur farm in the village of Litusovo, northeast of Minsk, Belarus. Coronavirus outbreaks at mink farms in Spain and the Netherlands have scientists digging into how the animals got infected and if they can spread it to people. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2012, file photo, minks look out of a cage at a fur farm in the village of Litusovo, northeast of Minsk, Belarus. Coronavirus outbreaks at mink farms in Spain and the Netherlands have scientists digging into how the animals got infected and if they can spread it to people. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits, File)(Sergei Grits | AP)
Published: Oct. 9, 2020 at 5:02 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Several mink at a farm in Michigan died of the same virus that causes COVID-19.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says other states have reported mink deaths from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but these are believed to be the first in Michigan. Samples are being sent to a federal veterinary lab for confirmation.

Agriculture officials did not disclose where the mink farm is located or how many animals died of the illness.

State officials are not sure how the mink contracted the virus and they say animals are not a significant source of spreading COVID-19 to humans in Michigan. The mink farm has few staff and prohibits domestic animals on site, so state agriculture officials believe the risk of spreading the illness to other animals is low.

The first U.S. COVID-19 infections involving mink were reported in Utah in August. Other mink in Wisconsin were confirmed with the illness, as well.

Mink farms in the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain also have confirmed SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks.

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