A MINK in Utah is the first US animal in the wild to test positive for coronavirus.
The mink was found near an infected fur farm, prompting many animal groups to raise alarms about the treatment of animals in the middle of a pandemic.
Kitty Block, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote the infected mink provides "yet another pressing reason why the United States needs to end all mink fur farming without further delay."
News of the mink's test spread just as fast as the virus did near Utah's fur farms, where it was reported in October that thousands of minks died from disease in the state, forcing nine sites in three counties into quarantine.
Utah's state veterinarian, Dean Taylor, said the infection likely spread from workers at the mink farms to the animals, without any signs that the animals were spreading the disease to humans. Some workers at the farm have also tested positive for coronavirus.
The US Department of Agriculture, which confirmed the case, said several wildlife species within the area were also tested and were negative.
"To our knowledge, this is the first free-ranging, native wild animal confirmed with SARS-COV-2," it wrote. "There is currently no evidence that SARS-COV-2 is circulating or has been established in wild populations surrounding the infected mink farms."
It notified the World Health Organization for Animal Health about the case, but said there's no evidence it has been widespread in wild populations that surround infected mink farms.
Medical experts are investigating the risk these animals pose to people after Denmark decided to eliminate its mink farms containing some 17million animals, after warning that a virus could spread from animal to human.
More than 15,000 farmed minks have been killed since the start of the coronavirus in the US alone.
Hospitals have isolated from what they call the "mink virus" in the United Kingdom, citing concerns of a possible jump of the virus from animals to humans.
In addition to the minks, there have been documented cases of pet cats and dogs contracting the virus, as well as tigers and lions in New York's Bronx Zoo.
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