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Article

First Description of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Two Feral American Mink (Neovison vison) Caught in the Wild

1
Servicio de Análisis, Investigación, Gestión de Animales Silvestres (SAIGAS), Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Cardenal Herrera-CEU, CEU Universities, 46113 Valencia, Spain
2
Department of Pharmacy, Facultad de CC de la Salud, UCH-CEU University, C/Ramon y Cajal s/n, 46113 Valencia, Spain
3
Wildlife Ecology & Health Group (WE&H), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), 08193 Barcelona, Spain
4
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Facultad de CC de la Salud, UCH-CEU University, C/Ramon y Cajal s/n, 46113 Valencia, Spain
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally.
Academic Editor: Levon Abrahamyan
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1422; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051422
Received: 24 March 2021 / Revised: 9 May 2021 / Accepted: 12 May 2021 / Published: 16 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Wildlife)
COVID-19 is one of the most important pandemics in recent history. It is an emerging infectious disease, probably of animal origin. Several domesticated and non-domesticated animals are naturally susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, including Mustelidae, of which mink is the first species identified to suffer from this infection. We report herein the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA in lymph node tissue from two feral American mink (Neovison vison) trapped in the wild in the Valencian Community (Eastern Spain) during invasive species trapping campaigns.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causal agent of COVID-19, is considered a pathogen of animal origin that is mainly transmitted from human to human. Several animal species can be naturally or experimentally infected by SARS-CoV-2, with compelling evidence that mink is highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Human-to-mink infection cases have been reported and there are also suggestions that mink-to-human infection occurs. Mink infections have been reported to date only on fur farms, except for one infected free- ranging wild mink near a Utah (USA) fur farm, which suggests a transmission pathway from farms to wild mink. We now report the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in 2 of 13 feral dark brown American mink (Neovison vison) trapped in the Valencian Community (Eastern Spain), during an invasive species trapping campaign. They were trapped in riverbeds in sparsely inhabited rural areas known to harbor self-sustained feral mink populations. The closest fur farm is about 20 km away. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected by two-step RT-PCR in these animals’ mesenteric lymph nodes and was confirmed by sequencing a 397-nucleotide amplified region of the S gene, yielding identical sequences in both animals. A molecular phylogenetic analysis was run on this sequence, which was found to correspond to the consensus SARS-CoV-2 sequence from Wuhan. Our findings appear to represent the first example of SARS-CoV-2 acquired in the wild by feral mink in self-sustained populations. View Full-Text
Keywords: American mink; COVID-19; Neovison vison; SARS-CoV-2; spike; wildlife American mink; COVID-19; Neovison vison; SARS-CoV-2; spike; wildlife
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MDPI and ACS Style

Aguiló-Gisbert, J.; Padilla-Blanco, M.; Lizana, V.; Maiques, E.; Muñoz-Baquero, M.; Chillida-Martínez, E.; Cardells, J.; Rubio-Guerri, C. First Description of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Two Feral American Mink (Neovison vison) Caught in the Wild. Animals 2021, 11, 1422. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051422

AMA Style

Aguiló-Gisbert J, Padilla-Blanco M, Lizana V, Maiques E, Muñoz-Baquero M, Chillida-Martínez E, Cardells J, Rubio-Guerri C. First Description of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Two Feral American Mink (Neovison vison) Caught in the Wild. Animals. 2021; 11(5):1422. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051422

Chicago/Turabian Style

Aguiló-Gisbert, Jordi, Miguel Padilla-Blanco, Victor Lizana, Elisa Maiques, Marta Muñoz-Baquero, Eva Chillida-Martínez, Jesús Cardells, and Consuelo Rubio-Guerri. 2021. "First Description of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Two Feral American Mink (Neovison vison) Caught in the Wild" Animals 11, no. 5: 1422. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051422

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