Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

First Description of Natural SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Two Wild American Minks (Neovison vison)

Version 1 : Received: 24 March 2021 / Approved: 25 March 2021 / Online: 25 March 2021 (16:39:13 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

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. 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.

Journal reference: Animals 2021, 11, 1422
DOI: 10.3390/ani11051422

Abstract

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of COVID-19 , is considered a pathogen with animal origin, mainly transmitted human to human. It has been experimentally and naturally demonstrated that several animals can be infected by SARS-CoV-2. There are strong evidences that minks are highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, since several cases of human to mink infection have been reported, and it has been suggested mink to human infection exists, which so far it is the most reliable example of a zoonotic event of COVID-19 . However, all these cases reported are form mink farms, with the exception of one case in the USA in which the virus was detected in a mink located in the wild, but it was demonstrated that the animal was infected on a fur farm. In the present work, we have detected SARS-CoV-2 RNA in two wild American minks (Neovison vison) in Valencian Community (Eastern Spain) during invasive species trapping campaigns. The animals were trapped from areas known for harbouring self-sustained populations, far away from the nearest fur farm. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in mesenteric lymph nodes samples by RT-PCR. A partial region of the Spike protein gene was amplified and sequence obtaining a 397 nt size sequence. Phylogenetic analysis shown that both sequences were identical to the consensus variant SARS CoV-2 sequence (from Wuhan). This research describes the first infection report of a true wild American mink not related to infected fur farms or direct contact with humans, which is believed to be the first example of wild animals in which SARS-CoV-2 has been detected.

Subject Areas

American Mink; COVID-19; Neovison vison; SARS-CoV-2; Spike; wildlife

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