Dead, coronavirus-carrying mink are rising from the ground in Denmark. How did it come to this?
Denmark has killed millions of mink as it tries to cull its entire population of the animal in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus after a particular mutated strain of the virus was found to have infected at least 12 people.
Countries across Europe have detected infections in their mink farms, prompting fears of further culls.
Here are five things to know about the mink infections.
This came after finding that mutated versions of the coronavirus had developed in the animals and jumped to at least 373 people.
One of those mutations might jeopardize future vaccination efforts.
How is this infection different?
Several animals, including cats, dogs and even lions and tigers at the New York zoo, have been found to carry to virus. But mink are the only animal known to be capable of infecting humans, partly because they are more likely to receive a heavy viral load in their crowded cages.
Denmark found that the virus had mutated in the mink and split into at least five different strains. Viruses commonly mutate, and new variants are not necessarily worse that previous ones.
However, one of the mutations — dubbed "Cluster 5" — was found to be particularly resistant to antibodies. It was found in 12 people in August and September.
The "Cluster 5" strain has a mutation in the gene encoding the coronavirus' spike protein, which it uses to enter cells. This spike protein is an identifying feature, which many vaccines use to train the immune system. Therefore, this mutation could make future vaccines less effective.
The Polish government has denied its mink are infected, despite a team of researchers from Gdansk Medical University confirming the presence of coronavirus among eight out of 91 minks tested at a mink farm in northern Poland.
Nonetheless, Poland is preparing legislation to regulate the potential culling of animals and compensation for farmers.