Can Ferrets Get COVID?
The short answer is that we don’t know for sure yet, but initial studies suggest that they may be able to. However, the long answer is a bit more complicated.
Ferrets are members of the weasel family, which also includes minks. Both of these groups of animals have recently been found to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans. In fact, a outbreak of COVID-19 among mink farms in the Netherlands has led to the culling of thousands of animals.
Given that ferrets and minks are closely related, it stands to reason that ferrets may also be susceptible to the virus. However, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in ferrets thus far.
There have been a few studies looking at the susceptibility of ferrets to SARS-CoV-2. In one study, ferrets were inoculated with the virus and then monitored for disease development. The authors found that the ferrets did develop some respiratory symptoms, but they were much milder than what has been seen in humans with COVID-19.
In another study, ferrets were placed in cages with SARS-CoV-2 infected ferrets. The authors found that the uninfected ferrets did become infected, but they did not develop any symptoms of disease.
These studies suggest that ferrets may be able to become infected with SARS-CoV-2, but they do not seem to get sick from it. However, it’s important to note that these studies were done on a small number of animals, so more research is needed to confirm these findings.
If ferrets are indeed able to get infected with SARS-CoV-2 but don’t get sick from it, this could have important implications for our understanding of the virus. For example, it is possible that asymptomatic carriers of the virus could play a role in its spread.
At this point, there is still much we don’t know about SARS-CoV-2 and its interaction with ferrets. However, the available data suggest that ferrets may be able to get infected with the virus but don’t seem to get sick from it. More research is needed to confirm these findings and to better understand the role that asymptomatic carriers may play in the spread of the virus.