By NewsDesk @bactiman63
Swedish health officials, or Folkhalsomyndigheten report occasional genetic changes have been found in the virus SARS-CoV-2 in minks in Sweden, but it is not the same virus variant that has been noticed in minks with viruses in Denmark.
In mid-October, it was discovered that the virus SARS-CoV-2, which causes covid-19 in humans, was found in minks on mink farms in Blekinge. The Swedish Public Health Agency and the Swedish Veterinary Institute (SVA), in collaboration with the Blekinge region, began monitoring the virus in mink for comparison with possible cases of covid-19 in humans.
The monitoring consists of samples being collected from minks, from staff working in connection with minks and from people in the community where mink farms occur. If the SARS-CoV-2 virus is found in samples, the virus’ genome is mapped.
The purpose is to investigate the extent to which minks and personnel working with minks have been infected, and to monitor whether viruses spread from the mink farms to nearby communities. In addition, the monitoring aims to detect changes in the virus’ genome (mutations) that can occur when the virus is spread among mink and from mink on to humans.
Since the first report of SARS-CoV-2 in mink in mid-October, a total of 13 mink farms, all in Blekinge, have been shown to be infected. We have previously reported that a proportion of the staff who worked in connection with the mink farms were also infected with covid-19. It is not possible to show whether the staff infected the minks or vice versa. It is most likely that the staff initially infected the minks, but the infection may then have been transmitted from the minks to staff.
Experience from the Netherlands and Denmark indicates that the risk of infection from minks to humans in the vicinity of minks is high. The analysis of the viral genome made from mink in Blekinge can not say if this has happened in Sweden. Some genetic changes can be found in viruses in isolated cases of covid-19 in staff and from the minks on the farm where they work.
The genetic changes found are not the same as those noticed in Denmark, but are changes that in several countries have been linked to mink. The changes are also found in viruses in humans in several different countries, completely independent of mink. These genetic changes have not given rise to any change in the disease picture in humans or that it is feared to affect the effect of vaccines. Spread of viruses with these genetic changes can not be seen in nearby communities. These genetic changes have not given rise to any change in the disease picture in humans or that it is feared to affect the effect of vaccines. Spread of viruses with these genetic changes can not be seen in nearby communities. These genetic changes have not given rise to any change in the disease picture in humans or that it is feared to affect the effect of vaccines. Spread of viruses with these genetic changes can not be seen in nearby communities.
The risk of spreading the infection is judged to have decreased
Since the collaboration to identify the infection began, no more infected farmers have been confirmed, and there have only been six new cases among staff. The risk of further spread of infection to and from mink is judged to have decreased as a result of the Swedish Board of Agriculture’s restrictions to reduce infection and the fact that fur has now been completed and that mink herds have thus decreased significantly. Monitoring will continue to detect any further infection in staff and will be reduced so that measures can be taken to prevent further spread of infection if the need arises.
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