Coronavirus bombshell: European farm outbreaks may prove humans catch virus from animals

In particular, they are looking to see whether or not minks can pass on the virus. This comes amid outbreaks at farms in Spain and the Netherlands. It is believed that the virus outbreak began with infected workers on the mink farms passing the virus onto small animals.

The theory being produced by scientists is that minks were responsible for passing the virus back to the staff.

This has now led scientists to explore how much of a danger the animals pose to the virus.

In Spain, there was an outbreak on a mink farm in which 14 members of staff were infected including the owner.

After operations were closed down, two more employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Furthermore, recent figures have shown that over 92,000 minks have been slaughtered after it was believed that 90 per cent of them had contracted the virus.

After the outbreak in the Netherlands, Professor Wim van der Poel said the strain of the virus in the animals was similar to the one in humans.

He is a professor that studies animal viruses at Wageningen University and Research.

He said: “We assumed it was possible that it would be transmitted back to people again.”

Although it has never been officially confirmed, it was always assumed that bats were the original animal which transmitted the coronavirus.

If it is proven that minks are able to pass on the disease to humans, it would be the first documented case of animal-human transmission.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is aware of the outbreak on the mink farm.

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However, they believe the levels of transmission from animals to humans was very limited.

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, from the WHO, said: “This gives us some clues about which animals may be susceptible to infection.”

“It will help us as we learn more about the potential animal reservoir of (the virus).”

Around a million minks have already been killed in the Netherlands, which has spanned across 26 farms.

This is according to the country’s Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority.

Protocols at farms in Spain and the Netherlands have been tightened and the transportation of minks has been banned.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, warned on Tuesday that there are signs of a “second wave” of coronavirus infections emerging in Europe.

This has raised concerns that there may be a return to the dark days of March and April when the virus was spreading uncontrolled across the continent.

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