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Alaskapox Virus: What is Alaskapox? How Does It Spread? What Are The Symptoms? All You Need To Know About The Unusual Virus

Alaskapox Virus: Health officials in Alaska have confirmed the first death linked to a new virus called Alaskapox. The victim, an elderly man with a weakened immune system, lived alone in the woods near the Kenai Peninsula. He passed away in late January after battling the illness. Only seven cases of Alaskapox have been reported so far.

The man had not traveled recently, leading officials to suspect that he may have contracted Alaskapox from his pet cat. Although the cat tested negative for the virus, it regularly hunted and scratched him. This suggests that the virus might have spread through the cat’s claws.

The man initially noticed a red lump under his arm in September and received antibiotics. However, his condition worsened over the following weeks, causing pain and fatigue. In December, he underwent tests at the hospital, which revealed that he had cowpox. Further testing by the Centers for Disease Control confirmed that the illness was Alaskapox.


Alaska Virus

Alaskapox is a type of virus that belongs to a family called orthopoxviruses. These viruses are shaped like bricks and can infect both animals and humans. They often cause skin lesions, or pox, when they infect someone. Some viruses in this family, like smallpox, are well-known and can be very dangerous.

Other members of the orthopoxvirus family include camelpox, cowpox, horsepox, and mpox, which used to be called monkeypox. Alaskapox was first discovered in 2015 by a woman who lived near Fairbanks, Alaska. It’s mainly been found in small mammals like red-backed voles and shrews, but it can also be carried by pets like dogs and cats.

In the past nine years, seven people in Alaska have been infected with Alaskapox. It’s not very common, but it is important to be aware of it, especially if you live in or visit Alaska.

Symptoms of Alaskapox

Alaskapox Virus

People infected with Alaskapox typically develop one or more bumps or pustules on their skin. They may also experience joint or muscle pain, as well as swollen lymph nodes.

Most patients with Alaskapox have mild illnesses that get better on their own after a few weeks. However, individuals with weakened immune systems are at risk of developing more severe illness. It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have Alaskapox, especially if you have a weakened immune system or if your symptoms are severe.

How does the Alaskapox virus spread?

Officials believe that Alaskapox spreads through contact with infected animals. So far, there have been no documented cases of it spreading from one person to another.

However, other viruses in the same family can spread when someone comes into contact with lesions on another person’s skin. Because of this, Alaska health officials are advising anyone with an Alaskapox lesion to cover it with a bandage.

This simple step can help prevent the spread of the virus and protect others from getting infected. It’s important to follow this advice to help keep yourself and others safe.

Alaskapox Virus Death Case

In the latest case, an elderly man living in the Kenai Peninsula passed away from Alaskapox, marking the first known death from the virus. The man was undergoing cancer treatment, which weakened his immune system due to the medications he was taking.

In September, he noticed a red sore under his right armpit and experienced fatigue and burning pain over the next two months. He sought medical attention and was hospitalized in November, where he ultimately succumbed to the illness last month.

The man lived in a remote forested area and did not travel. Health officials suspect that he contracted Alaskapox from a stray cat that frequently scratched him while hunting small animals. One of the scratches was located in the area of the man’s armpit, where the red sore first appeared.

Alaskapox is a rare illness that usually causes mild symptoms, according to health officials. However, there are still some risks associated with wildlife.

To keep yourself and your pets safe, it is important to maintain a safe distance from wild animals and wash your hands after spending time outdoors. Additionally, it is best not to try to keep wild animals as pets. These simple steps can help prevent the spread of infections and protect your family’s health.

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