Clinical and Pathological Findings in SARS-CoV-2 Disease Outbreaks in Farmed Mink (Neovison vison)

Robert Jan Molenaar*, Sandra Vreman, Renate W. Hakze-van der Honing, Rob Zwart, Jan de Rond, Eefke Weesendorp, Lidwien A.M. Smit, Marion Koopmans, Ruth Bouwstra, Arjan Stegeman, Wim H.M. van der Poel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

115 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-657
JournalVeterinary Pathology
Issue number5
Early online date14 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • COVID-19
  • mink
  • pneumonia
  • respiratory disease
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
  • zoonoses


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