Manifestation of SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Mink Related to Host-, Virus- and Farm-Associated Factors, The Netherlands 2020

Wendy J. Wolters, Myrna M.T. de Rooij, Robert Jan Molenaar, Jan de Rond, J.C.M. Vernooij, Paola A. Meijer, Bas B. Oude Munnink, Reina S. Sikkema, Arco N. van der Spek, Marcel A.H. Spierenburg, Renate W. Hakze-van der Honing, Wim H.M. van der Poel, Marion P.G. Koopmans, J.A. Stegeman, Lidwien A.M. Smit, Marieke Augustijn-Schretlen, Francisca C. Velkers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks on 69 Dutch mink farms in 2020 were studied to identify risk factors for virus introduction and transmission and to improve surveillance and containment measures. Clinical signs, laboratory test results, and epidemiological aspects were investigated, such as the date and reason of suspicion, housing, farm size and distances, human contact structure, biosecurity measures, and presence of wildlife, pets, pests, and manure management. On seven farms, extensive random sampling was performed, and age, coat color, sex, and clinical signs were recorded. Mild to severe respiratory signs and general diseases such as apathy, reduced feed intake, and increased mortality were detected on 62/69 farms. Throat swabs were more likely to result in virus detection than rectal swabs. Clinical signs differed between virus clusters and were more severe for dark-colored mink, males, and animals infected later during the year. Geographical clustering was found for one virus cluster. Shared personnel could explain some cases, but other transmission routes explaining farm-to-farm spread were not elucidated. An early warning surveillance system, strict biosecurity measures, and a (temporary) ban on mink farming and vaccinating animals and humans can contribute to reducing the risks of the virus spreading and acquisition of potential mutations relevant to human and animal health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1754
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2022


  • animal reservoirs
  • biosecurity
  • disease outbreaks
  • mink
  • mink farms
  • one health
  • risk factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • spillover and spillback
  • zoonoses and reverse zoonoses


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