The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Service Laboratory tested 10 samples submitted by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), all of which came back positive for SARS-CoV-2.
The ODA submitted the samples after the farmer reported symptoms. The farm also reported cases of COVID-19 among staff.
The ODA has placed the farm under quarantine.
“We have been engaged with the Oregon mink industry for some time, providing information on biosecurity to prevent the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 and were ready to respond,” ODA State Veterinarian Dr. Ryan Scholz said.
“The farmer did the right thing by self-reporting symptoms very early and he is now cooperating with us and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) in taking care of his animals and staff,” he added. “So far, we have no reports of mink mortalities linked to the virus but that could change as the virus progresses.”
Oregon agencies will continue to monitor the farm and its employees, as well as anyone they came in contact with.
The appearance of SARS-CoV-2 in mink has been a global issue, with some countries going so far as to cull millions of mink to ensure spread is prevented.
In the United States, Utah, Michigan and Wisconsin have already reported cases of SARS-CoV-2 in mink.
Italy, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the U.S. join Denmark in noting the presence of the virus among mink farm populations.
By as early as April, Dutch officials noted the presence of COVID-19 among at least two mink farms. Spain discovered more cases on mink farms in July, leading to a cull of around 100,000 in that instance.
Overall, the Spanish and Dutch governments culled around 1 million mink at farms across both countries.
The USDA said, however, that there is currently "no evidence that animals, including mink, play a significant role in spreading the virus to humans. Based on the limited information available to date, the risk of animals spreading SARS-CoV-2 to people is considered to be low.”