Minks on a second farm in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans.
The Ministry of Agriculture says three minks that died on the farm tested positive, and that they were tested after some animals in the herd had diarrhea.
The ministry says 23 animals died between Dec. 19 and 23.
B.C.’s chief veterinarian has placed the farm under a quarantine prohibiting the movement of animals or materials from the property to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
The ministry statement says no workers on the farm have tested positive for COVID-19 and it’s unclear where the minks contracted the virus.
Earlier this month, several workers and animals tested positive at a separate Fraser Valley farm where about 200 minks died over a five-day period.
At the time of the test results on the first farm, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the situation was concerning because transmissions between humans and minks have occurred in other countries and there’s potential for the virus to mutate.
The ministry says all mink farms in B.C. are taking part in an enhanced surveillance and testing program to monitor for COVID-19.
“A plan is in place to provide feed and care to the mink during the outbreak that respects the conditions of the quarantine and maintains both worker and mink safety,” the statement says.
There are about 1,000 minks on the second farm, while the first farm where animals contracted the virus that causes COVID-19 has 15,000 animals.
The ministry says the locations of the farms will not be released.
Denmark, the world’s largest supplier of mink fur, decided last month to cull all of its farmed minks, about 15 million animals.
The World Health Organization said then that the decision was made after it was determined it wasn’t possible to stop the spread of the infection from farm to farm, or from animals to humans.
Spain culled about 100,000 farmed minks, and in the U.S., about 10,000 minks in Utah died as the virus spread across farms.