Two Dutch mink farms have reported cases of COVID-19 among their animals, the countryís Ministry of Agriculture confirmed on Sunday.
Minks at the two farms located within 15km of each other in southern Netherlands "showed various symptoms including respiratory problems," the ministry said in a statement.
Mink are dark-colored, semiaquatic, carnivorous mammals bred for their furs.
An investigation has been launched to determine the source of the infections.
Authorities "assume that people infected animals" as the two farms had employees with symptoms for COVID-19 and stressed that although "human to animal contamination is possible, the impact of this mink contamination on human health is currently negligible".
To prevent the spread of the disease to other farms, both animals and manure are banned from leaving the infected farms.
Samples are being collected from healthy and infected animals with authorities also collecting air and dust samples in the vicinity "as a precaution".
The ministry said public roads around the two frame have been closed and advised people not to walk or cycle within a 400-metre radius until the samples have been analysed.
These are not the first cases of infections in animals.
A tiger at a zoo in New York tested positive to COVID-19 after developing a respiratory illness, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
"CDC is aware of a small number of pets, including cats and dogs, reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19," it added.
It advised people to treat pets as they would other human family members and to not let them interact with people or animals outside the household. It also recommended that if someone in the family develops symptoms, they also be isolated from pets.