Israelis may be infected with new coronavirus strain from Denmark minks

Only a small number of people have been confirmed as carrying the new mutation, and the likelihood of a patient carrying the infection coming to Israel is low.

Mink are seen at the farm of Henrik Nordgaard Hansen and Ann-Mona Kulsoe Larsen near Naestved, Denmark, November 6, 2020 (photo credit: RITZAU SCANPIX/MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN VIA REUTERS)
Mink are seen at the farm of Henrik Nordgaard Hansen and Ann-Mona Kulsoe Larsen near Naestved, Denmark, November 6, 2020
(photo credit: RITZAU SCANPIX/MADS CLAUS RASMUSSEN VIA REUTERS)
Three Israelis who returned from Denmark and were confirmed as being infected with the novel coronavirus may have been infected with the new strain discovered recently among minks in the Scandinavian country, according to KAN news.
The new strain may have decreased sensitivity to antibodies, which could impact future vaccines, although studies are still being conducted to verify this.
The three Israelis returned from Denmark in the past few days. The Health Ministry is conducting genetic sequencing on samples from the three to check which strain they were infected with.
The ministry explained that they are conducting the tests to be safe, although only a small number of people have been confirmed as carrying the new mutation, and the likelihood of a patient carrying the infection coming to Israel is low.
The ministry and Home Front Command are working together to locate travelers from Denmark and are contacting them to take special tests for coronavirus to determine if they are carrying the mutation. All travelers from Denmark are asked to enter quarantine until they receive results.
Denmark will now be considered a red country due to the discovery of the new strain, despite relatively low infection rates in the country.
Authorities in Denmark said five cases of the new virus strain had been recorded on mink farms and 12 cases in humans, and that there were between 15 million and 17 million mink in the country. Overall, 214 human cases of COVID-19 associated with mink farms have been identified in Denmark, although not all have been associated with the new virus strain.
The country is culling its entire mink population after the virus was found to spread between the animal and humans and the new strain was discovered.
Six countries have reported cases of SARS-CoV-2 in farmed minks, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Italy and the US, according to the WHO.
Aaron Reich and Reuters contributed to this report.


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