The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said on Monday that it confirmed the first known case of coronavirus in a wild animal, a mink, in Utah.
“To our knowledge, this is the first free-ranging, native wild animal confirmed with SARS-CoV-2,” the USDA said in a notice about the infected wild animal around a mink farm in Utah.
Coronavirus has been detected at 16 mink farms in the United States. But until now, no wild mink cases had been documented.
The agency said it notified the World Organisation for Animal Health of the recent case but said there is no evidence the virus had spread in wild populations around infected mink farms. Mink, raccoons, skunks, and other animals around infected mink farms were sampled and all tested negative.
The discovery increases concerns about outbreaks in mink. All over the world, millions of captive mink have been killed because the coronavirus was found in the animals at mink farms.
The virus has also been found in other captive wild animals. A week ago, four tigers tested positive for COVID-19 at Barcelona Zoo in Spain. They were given veterinary care to recover.
It is not known what happened to the wild mink with COVID-19, if he’s given medicine to recover or killed.