The National Veterinary Services Laboratories has confirmed that dead mink at a Taylor County, Wisconsin, mink farm have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. It’s the first confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection among Wisconsin’s mink population.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the positive result after preliminary testing was conducted by the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has quarantined all animals on the farm, meaning no animals or animal products may leave the premise. It’s an active investigation so no information about the farm or parties involved will be released.

The ag department is coordinating with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Taylor County Health Department, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and a local veterinarian to provide assistance to the farm. The response includes appropriate carcass disposal, cleaning and disinfecting the animal areas, and protecting human and animal health.

Wisconsin is the second state with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 at a mink farm; Utah confirmed its first cases Aug. 17. There’s currently no evidence that animals, including mink, play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2 to humans.

But people infected with the virus can spread it to mink and other animals. People suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 are encouraged to avoid contact with pets and other animals while they are completing their home isolation, to protect the animals from infection.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services encourages everyone to follow simple steps to stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • Wear a mask in public.
  • Stay 6 feet apart.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Stay home as much as possible.

Visit www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19 and datcp.wi.gov and www.cdc.gov for more information.