The first case of the coronavirus in a wild animal has been reported in the US. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the COVID-19 case was reported in a wild mink.
The discovery has left experts deeply worried as the coronavirus has led to the culling of over 15,000 farmed mink in the US since August.
Global health officials are investigating the risk posed by mink in humans after Denmark in December decided to kill as much as 17 million farmed mink. The decision was taken after health experts cautioned that a mutated coronavirus strain could infect the humans.
The USDA issued a notice confirming the coronavirus case in a “free-ranging, wild mink” in Utah. The mink was tested positive as part of wildlife surveillance around infected farms.
According to USDA, the samples of many wild animals from different species were tested and all of them came negative.
The USDA has notified the World Organisation for Animal Health about this development but the American agency stressed that it is still not confirmed that coronavirus has spread across wild populations around infected mink farms.
“To our knowledge, this is the 1st free-ranging, native wild animal confirmed with SARS-CoV-2,” the USDA said in the notice.
Earlier, coronavirus has been found in zoo tigers and household cats and dogs.