Mink farms can be dangerous if corona contamination does not go away

This was revealed today during a technical briefing in the House of Representatives. RIVM director Jaap van Dissel and Utrecht professor of veterinary medicine Arjen Stegeman made it clear that an unwanted ‘reservoir’ (source of contamination) can arise from corona among animals.

World first

That is especially a problem if the coronavirus is on the decline among people. Then there could still be sources of infection among animals. The question is whether public health is at stake, especially now that it has become known that in two cases the virus has passed from mink to human.

Today it became clear that there is a second case of mink infection in Brabant with a corona virus on a mink farm in Brabant. Last week, the Netherlands already had a world first with the first contamination ever, which has been scientifically established.

All mink farms in the Netherlands are currently screened. According to professor Stegeman, the risk of contamination by animals is not very high for the time being. “We assume that animals play a minor role in the spread of the virus. Very few infections are known so far, ” he said after the briefing.

“Skip to people”

But he does think more research is needed. “We must prevent that at the end of the epidemic, when people no longer infect each other, a reservoir has been created among animals and that such a reservoir can spread the virus to people again.”

Stegeman is not worried. He believes that the researchers have mapped everything properly.

Many MPs are concerned. A number of them wanted to know whether it is not being investigated for too long and whether it is not better to clean up infected companies and to phase out mink farming in the Netherlands at an accelerated pace. In 2013 it was decided that all mink farms should be closed. They should all be closed by January 1, 2024.

Front pines

The experts did not want to answer the question of what should be done with infected companies. They clearly indicated that it is up to politicians to make decisions.

The Ministry of Agriculture does not rule out the conclusion that it will be decided at the end of this week that the infected companies must be culled if research shows that the virus continues to spread.

Infection on cats and dogs

The experts also spoke about infections on cats and dogs. Until now, some cats in our country have been infected with corona. The cats have been known to get the virus from humans.

The experts are still little concerned about the contamination of cats to humans: “The amount of infected cats is still very limited. Please remember that there are more than 2.3 million cats living in our country,” says Stegeman.

But here too, more research is needed.


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