Several minks at two farms in southern Netherlands were found to have contracted the novel coronavirus, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality announced on Sunday.
According to a ministry statement, the animals at the farms in Gemert-Bakel and Laarbeek, showed various symptoms, including respiratory problems.
As some employees had coronavirus symptoms at both farms, the ministry assumed the animals were infected by people. There are currently no indications that farm animals or pets play a role in the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Investigations have been launched to determine the source of the infections.
A reporting obligation has been introduced for mink farmers, veterinarians and people in research institutions if they detect breathing problems and increased mortality of minks, according to the ministry. The animals must not leave the infected farms.
Based on current knowledge about COVID-19, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) said the mink farms do not pose a risk of further spread to humans.
“Human to animal contamination is possible,” the RIVM stated, “but the impact of this mink contamination on human health is currently negligible,” it said.