Understanding Alaskapox: A Virus Found in Small Animals

Spread the love

A recent death in Alaska has brought attention to Alaskapox, an unusual virus that health officials have been monitoring for nine years. The virus, which has caused rare and relatively mild illnesses in the Fairbanks area, has sparked new interest following a fatal case in another part of the state.

Characteristics of Alaskapox

Alaskapox is a member of the orthopoxvirus family, known for causing lesions or pox on the skin in both animals and humans. Other members of this family include smallpox, camelpox, cowpox, and horsepox. First discovered in 2015 in a woman near Fairbanks, Alaskapox has primarily been found in small mammals like red-backed voles and shrews, with potential transmission to pets like dogs and cats.

Symptoms and Spread

Individuals infected with Alaskapox typically develop skin bumps or pustules, along with joint or muscle pain and swollen lymph nodes. Most cases result in mild illnesses that resolve on their own within a few weeks, though those with weakened immune systems are at risk of more severe complications. The virus is believed to spread through contact with infected animals, with no documented cases of human-to-human transmission reported.

Recent Fatal Case

The recent death of an elderly man on the Kenai Peninsula marks the first known fatality from Alaskapox. The man, undergoing cancer treatment with a suppressed immune system, experienced symptoms including fatigue and burning pain before his hospitalization and subsequent death. Authorities traced his exposure to repeated scratches from a stray cat known to hunt small animals, highlighting the potential risks posed by interactions with wildlife.

Preventive Measures

While Alaskapox is rare and often mild, health officials advise precautions to reduce the risk of infection. Keeping a safe distance from wildlife, washing hands after outdoor activities, and avoiding the keeping of wild animals as pets are recommended practices to safeguard against potential exposure to the virus for both humans and pets.

SOURCE: Ref Image from News Week

Views:1021 0
Website | + posts

Whether writing about complex technical topics or breaking news stories, my writing is always clear, concise, and engaging. My dedication to my craft and passion for storytelling have earned me a reputation as a highly respected article writer.

Spread the love