Natural SARS-CoV-2 infection in kept ferrets, Spain

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Natural SARS-CoV-2 infection in kept ferrets, Spain

Published 27 September 2021

Gortazar, C. et al (2021) Natural SARS-CoV-2 infection in kept ferrets, Spain. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 27 (7), pp. 1994-1996.

This research letter reports on SARS-CoV-2 infection in 71 ferrets belonging to 7 owners; the ferrets were used as working animals for rabbit hunting in Ciudad Real Province, central Spain. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found in swab samples (1 rectal and 5 nasal) from 6 (8.4%) of the 71 ferrets from 4 of the 7 groups of ferrets investigated.

The authors conclude that natural SARS-CoV-2 infection in kept ferrets does occur in circumstances of high viral circulation in the human population. However, the high cycle thresholds observed and the lack of virus-positive ferrets at resampling suggest that small ferret populations are less able to maintain prolonged virus circulation than large, farmed mink populations.

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