Photo Credit: TheAnimalDay.org via Flickr
Farm minks, August 4, 2010.

Israel’s Health Ministry is investigating a suspicion that three Israelis who returned from Denmark and became infected with the coronavirus had in reality been infected by the corona mutation that is being spread by farm minks, Kan 11 News reported on Monday.

Read: Denmark to Destroy 15 Million Minks with Mutated Coronavirus that Could Endanger Future Vaccines

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Last Wednesday, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told a press conference that he plans to destroy the entire mink population in his country, between 15 and 17 million animals in more than 1,800 farms, over fears that they spread to humans a mutation of the coronavirus that “may pose a risk to the effectiveness of a future vaccine.”

According to the WHO, “In a few instances, the minks that were infected by humans have transmitted the virus to other people. These are the first reported cases of animal-to-human transmission.”

The coronavirus has been detected at 207 Danish mink farms, some of them with a mutated virus. So far twelve people were registered as infected with the mutated coronavirus, but authorities expect the real number to be much larger.

The three Israelis have returned from Denmark in recent days and were confirmed as carriers of the virus. But Health Ministry officials decided to test their samples and perform genetic sequencing to find out if they were carrying a mutation or the original virus.

Because of the discovery of mutated viruses, Denmark was added to the list of red countries, despite its low morbidity rates.

Israel’s Health Ministry responded to the report, stating: “In all of Denmark a few mutated patients are currently known to be quarantined. The likelihood of a patient carrying the mutation arriving in Israel is low. At the same time we exercise caution, and the Health Ministry together with the Home Front Command have issued a list of passengers who returned from Denmark and contacted them this morning to test for the mutation.”

“Until the results are received, travelers from Denmark are asked to quarantine and Denmark has been added to the list of red countries whose arrivals require isolation,” the Health Ministry stated.

Denmark’s Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said last week that the mutated virus was found in twelve people who had been infected by minks, and that half of the 783 coronavirus cases in northern Denmark “are related to mink.” So the Israeli version regarding the chances of a mutated epidemic may be over-optimistic.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.