SARS-CoV-2 in mustelides: recommendations to improve monitoring

Following outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 in mink farms across Europe in 2020 the European Commission  requested a report in order to offer options for monitoring strategies in preventing and controlling spread of the disease. The report, compiled by EFSA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) concludes that all mink farms should be considered at risk from SARS-CoV-2 and that monitoring should include active measures such as testing of animals and staff in addition to passive surveillance by farmers and veterinarians.

As of January 2021, the virus has been detected at 400 mink farms in eight countries in the EU/EEA – 290 in Denmark, 69 in the Netherlands, 21 in Greece, 13 in Sweden, three in Spain, two in Lithuania and one each in France and Italy. Mink and ferret are knownn to be highly susceptible to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 , but no information is still available for other mustelid species. Therefore, the European Authorities reccomend also to include in monitoring plans the following animal species: American mink, ferrets, cats, raccoon dogs, white‐tailed deer and Rhinolophidae bats.

EFSA report: Monitoring of SARS‐CoV‐2 infection in mustelids