“What the Mink?”

Madelyn Miel, Staff Writer

We have a serious mink issue in our world today. Before we begin to discuss the problem at hand, let’s start on what a mink even is. A mink is a carnivorous semiaquatic animal that is part of the Musteldia family. This family also includes weasels, otters, and ferrets. Minks are usually used for their fur. 

Since we know what a mink is, we can now go into what trouble they’re causing in our current world. In the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Sweden, and the United States, SARS-CoV-2 was reported in minks on their farms. SARS-CoV-2 is what causes COVID-19 in humans. SARS-CoV-2 is a strand of coronavirus, and when we are talking about animals, we refer to it as SARS-CoV-2. In the minks, it is causing respiratory problems and death within these farmed minks. 

The possible initial source of these mink infections can be the workers on these farms. This is because some of these workers had Covid-19, so it is a possibility it went from human to mink. As in humans, it is very contagious in minks, which can be a problem for these farms as they are close together. An infected mink can pass it on to another mink and other farm animals such as a cat. In summary, it went from human to mink, now mink to mink, and mink to a farm animal. Not only did the minks have SARS-CoV-2, but the virus also mutated. This mutated virus spread to the humans who worked at these farms, and when scientists did the research, it showed the mutations that initially came from the mink. This urged many fur farms to kill the infected minks. 

In a Danish fur farm, more than 100 SARS-CoV-2 minks have escaped. This is a big problem if authorities don’t catch these minks. These escapees can spread it to other animals in that surrounding area. Workers on these farms say thousands escape each year, but this year 5% may carry a form of SARS-CoV-2. 

Some people are worried that this will affect the upcoming vaccines; however, scientists are saying it shouldn’t. This is because there is no evidence that this mutated mink COVID strand will be resistant to the vaccines. This sounds very 2020, doesn’t it? Guess I can check “runaway mink Covid” off my 2020 bingo.