Infection with SARS-CoV-2,
Greece
Information received on 15/12/2020 from Mrs Chrysoula Dile, Head, Animal Health Directorate, Ministry of Rural Development and Food, ATHENS, Greece
Summary
Report type Immediate notification
Date of start of the event 04/12/2020
Date of confirmation of the event 08/12/2020
Report date 15/12/2020
Date submitted to OIE 15/12/2020
Reason for notification Emerging disease
Morbidity 2 (scale 0 to 5)
Mortality 1 (scale 0 to 5)
Zoonotic impact The Y453F mutation in the spike (S) protein of the virus, referred to as mink-related-variant, has been detected in 5 sequenced SARS-CoV-2 genomes from human cases directly related to mink (farm workers/owners). With regard to the sequenced mink samples, the latest results show the presence of the Y453F mutation in 1 of the farms tested so far. None of the other mutations described on the Rapid Risk Assessment of the 12th November 2020 from EU agencies (ECDC, EFSA, EMA) has been found up to now neither in humans nor animals. Sequencing of virus genomes from human and mink samples is ongoing
Causal agent SARS-CoV-2
Related reports Immediate notification (15/12/2020)
Follow-up report No. 1 (19/12/2020)
Follow-up report No. 2 (12/01/2021)
New outbreaks (3)
Outbreak 1 (GREVENA_3) Regional Unit of Grevena, Local Community of Kivotos, Municipality of Grevena, Dytiki Makedonia
Date of start of the outbreak 04/12/2020
Outbreak status Continuing (or date resolved not provided)
Epidemiological unit Farm
Affected animals
Species Susceptible Cases Deaths Killed and disposed of Slaughtered
Mustelidae 4000 0 0 0 0
Affected population The animals are bred in a commercial farm for their fur. Suspicion was raised in the framework of surveillance activities following notification about a confirmed human case (farm worker) for COVID-19. Samples (oropharyngeal swabs) were collected from twenty animals and were tested positive with RT- PCR. Mink showed no clinical symptoms and feed intake was not reduced. Mortality did not increase. It was negligible and within the expected range based on the farm records, thus is considered unrelated to the outbreak.
Outbreak 2 (KOZANI_8) Regional Unit of Kozani, Local Community of Peponia, Municipality of Voio, Dytiki Makedonia
Date of start of the outbreak 04/12/2020
Outbreak status Continuing (or date resolved not provided)
Epidemiological unit Farm
Affected animals
Species Susceptible Cases Deaths Killed and disposed of Slaughtered
Mustelidae 7500 900 160 0 0
Affected population The animals are bred in a commercial farm for their fur. Suspicion was raised in the framework of surveillance activities following notification about a) increased mortality and b) four confirmed human cases (farm owner and workers) for COVID-19. Samples (oropharyngeal swabs) were collected from ten dead animals and all of them were tested positive with RT- PCR. Infected mink showed respiratory symptoms and reduced feed intake.
Outbreak 3 (KOZANI_7) Regional Unit of Kozani, Local Community of Klima, Municipality of Voio, Dytiki Makedonia
Date of start of the outbreak 04/12/2020
Outbreak status Continuing (or date resolved not provided)
Epidemiological unit Farm
Affected animals
Species Susceptible Cases Deaths Killed and disposed of Slaughtered
Mustelidae 2300 43 43 0 0
Affected population The animals are bred in a commercial farm for their fur. Suspicion was raised in the framework of surveillance activities following notification about a) increased mortality and b) a confirmed human case (farm owner) for COVID-19. Samples (oropharyngeal swabs) were collected from ten dead animals and all of them were tested positive with RT- PCR. Mink that died were relatively old and fat and showed mild respiratory symptoms and reduced feed intake. It is assumed that more animals were infected but their number cannot be calculated because of missing information.
Summary of outbreaks Total outbreaks: 3
Total animals affected
Species Susceptible Cases Deaths Killed and disposed of Slaughtered
Mustelidae 13800 943 203 0 0
Outbreak statistics
Species Apparent morbidity rate Apparent mortality rate Apparent case fatality rate Proportion susceptible animals lost*
Mustelidae 6.83% 1.47% 21.53% 1.47%
*Removed from the susceptible population through death, destruction and/or slaughter
Epidemiology
Source of the outbreak(s) or origin of infection
  • Unknown or inconclusive
  • Farm staff from all infected farms tested positive for COVID-19
Epidemiological comments In total, 15 out of 91 mink farms have been tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 since the first outbreak was confirmed on 13/11/2020. Stamping out and official disposal of carcasses were only applied to the first confirmed farm. At that point, it was decided to stop culling animals. The whole country is practically considered a single zone. Movement restrictions (complete standstill for live animals) and strict biosecurity measures, including the mandatory use of personal protective equipment (PPE), have been imposed not only to the infected mink farms, but also to all fur farms in Greece. Reporting of increased mink morbidity and mortality to the veterinary authorities is obligatory at national level. When human vaccines become available, everyone who comes in close contact with mink (farm workers, owners, veterinarians) shall be included in the highest priority group to receive vaccination. In the framework of the one-health approach, veterinary and health authorities have been closely collaborating both at local and central level. Active repeated weekly surveillance (rapid tests and RT-PCR) is conducted by health authorities in all mink farm workers/owners. Results are notified directly to veterinary authorities which investigate every farm that is epidemiologically linked to a confirmed human case. In addition, veterinary authorities investigate every notification for increased animal morbidity and mortality. Oropharyngeal swabs are collected from the animals and tested with RT-PCR. Sequencing of virus genomes from human and mink samples is conducted.
Control measures
Measures applied
  • Movement control inside the country
  • Surveillance outside containment and/or protection zone
  • Surveillance within containment and/or protection zone
  • Traceability
  • Quarantine
  • Zoning
  • Vaccination permitted (if a vaccine exists)
  • No treatment of affected animals
Measures to be applied
  • No other measures
Diagnostic test results
Laboratory name and type Species Test Test date Result
Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) (National laboratory) Mustelidae real-time PCR 08/12/2020 Positive
Future Reporting
The event is continuing. Weekly follow-up reports will be submitted.
Map of outbreak locations