SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, caused respiratory disease outbreaks with increased mortality in 4 mink farms in the Netherlands. The most striking postmortem finding was an acute interstitial pneumonia, which was found in nearly all examined mink that died at the peak of the outbreaks. Acute alveolar damage was a consistent histopathological finding in mink that died with pneumonia. SARS-CoV-2 infections were confirmed by detection of viral RNA in throat swabs and by immunohistochemical detection of viral antigen in nasal conchae, trachea, and lung. Clinically, the outbreaks lasted for about 4 weeks but some animals were still polymerase chain reaction–positive for SARS-CoV-2 in throat swabs after clinical signs had disappeared. This is the first report of the clinical and pathological characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks in mink farms.
- respiratory disease
- severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2