Nearly 10,000 minks have died across several farms in Utah due to COVID-19 in a matter of weeks, a state official said.
State veterinarian Dean Taylor told NBC News that the deaths have been spread across nine mink farms in Utah over just two weeks.
While the official noted “research indicates there hasn’t been a spread from minks to humans,” he said that the minks suffered from respiratory issues, which have also been reported among humans.
“Minks show open mouth breathing, discharge from their eyes and nose, and are not sick for several days before they pass away. They typically die within the next day,” he told the network.
He also said that older animals have proven to be more vulnerable to the disease.
Taylor told NBC News that the illness has been “wiping out 50 percent of the breeding colonies.”
He said the country first started seeing minks return positive results for the coronavirus back in August. The discovery, Taylor said, came after several workers were diagnosed with the virus.
Taylor told the network that the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among other federal agencies, are working to mitigate the outbreak.
“Once final testing is done, we’re going to create a state plan to stop this virus from spreading to more farms,” he said.
“It’s far easier to prevent it from happening, then stopping it from happening all at once,” he added.