Home » What is Alaskan smallpox, the symptoms and how is it transmitted. The first fatal case – breaking latest news

What is Alaskan smallpox, the symptoms and how is it transmitted. The first fatal case – breaking latest news

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What is Alaskan smallpox, the symptoms and how is it transmitted.  The first fatal case – breaking latest news

New Virus Alaskapox Claims First Victim in Alaska

A man has died after being hospitalized with a new virus called Alaskapox, also known as Alaskan smallpox, making him the first confirmed victim of the virus since its discovery in 2015. Alaska health officials confirmed the man’s death in a press release, revealing that the man, who lived in a wooded area, had a weakened immune system due to treatment against a tumor, which may have aggravated the disease.

Alaskan smallpox is a relatively rare virus, primarily circulating among small mammals in Alaska. Experts say that infections in humans are usually mild, with most cases not even requiring supportive care. The virus causes symptoms similar to monkeypox, including skin lesions, swollen lymph nodes, and flu-like symptoms. It is mainly found in small rodent populations, including voles and shrews.

It is not yet known how the virus spreads from animals to humans, or how long it has been around. While the virus has been identified in seven human cases so far, experts believe that many individuals over the years may have mistaken their symptoms for insect or spider bites. Joe McLaughlin, an epidemiologist and chief of the Alaska Epidemiology Section, stated, “It is very likely that the virus has been present in Alaska for hundreds, if not thousands of years. What has changed is the greater awareness of doctors and the knowledge of the fact that the virus is more widespread than we thought.”

Symptoms of Alaskan smallpox include skin lesions, swollen lymph nodes, and flu-like symptoms, especially in immunocompromised individuals. The disease is treated with antivirals and immunoglobulin drugs.

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It is believed that the disease spreads to humans through direct contact with infected animals or their body fluids. Although the deceased man reported being scratched by a stray cat, who tested negative for the virus, health officials still believe that the cat may have been the source of the virus, possibly carrying it through its claws after scratching other infected rodents. The role of pets in transmitting the virus is still being investigated.

To date, human-to-human transmission of Alaskan smallpox has never been confirmed, but experts believe it can be contagious through close contact with an infected person, exposure to body fluids, and possibly through respiratory droplets.

As the investigation continues, health officials are urging residents to be cautious around wildlife and to seek medical attention if they develop any suspicious symptoms.

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