In 2020, the first year of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, at least four Americans in the state of Michigan became infected with a variant of the virus found primarily in soft, captive-bred ink lilies whose fur has been removed for use in the fur market. The data was confirmed last Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The infected group represents the first known animal-to-human transmission of the new coronavirus in America. Two of the people work on the mink farm and the other two are not known to have connections to the site, suggesting an increased spread among the resident population. . Some countries on different continents have already reported this unusual spread of the virus.
mutation and transfer
The delay in confirming the cases is due to the difficult analysis of the viral genome that the CDC laboratories have been working on since 2020. humans – normally the infection only occurs from person to person or from person to animal.
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The researchers analyzed virus samples from four infected people in Michigan and found two mutations that are believed to show signs of adaptation to mink: the same ones found in animals on European farms and related humans. This, and the fact that the Covid-19 test for farm workers was positive after the mink recovered and died, suggests that they became infected after coming into contact with sick animals.
However, it is difficult to be sure of the origin of the infections, as it is not possible to know whether the virus was already circulating in the Community or whether it actually came from the farm. The other two infected people are a taxidermist and his wife, both of whom have no connection to the mink garden.
The team, which collected samples from local people and animals, was called in early October 2020 when an epidemic was detected among the animals. National Geographic reports that the infection in two farm workers was discovered on November 4 of the same year, data found in U.S. state documents. The CDC reports on its website that some people had only been infected with the coronavirus with “unique mink-related mutations” in March 2021.
According to the CDC, the information was added to its website as soon as the possibility of the virus spreading from mink to humans became clear. This type of infection has already been reported in Denmark, the Netherlands and other countries on mink farms – many of which killed large animal populations in an effort to control the virus.
Source: National Geographic, CDC, Michigan