UNITED STATES NEWS

Elderly Alaska man is first reported person to die of recently discovered Alaskapox virus

Feb 12, 2024, 8:15 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An elderly man has died from Alaskapox, the first known fatality from the recently discovered virus, state health officials said.

The man, who lived in the remote Kenai Peninsula, was hospitalized last November and died in late January, according to a bulletin last week from Alaska public health officials.

The man was undergoing cancer treatment and had a suppressed immune system because of the drugs, which may have contributed to the severity of his illness, the bulletin said. It described him as elderly but didn’t provide his age.

Alaskapox, also known as AKPV, is related to smallpox, cowpox and mpox, health officials said. Symptoms can include a rash, swollen lymph nodes and joint or muscle pain.

Only six other cases of the virus have been reported to Alaska health officials since the first one in 2015. All involved people were living in the Fairbanks area, more than 300 miles (483 kilometers) from the Kenai Peninsula, health officials said.

All had mild cases and recovered without being hospitalized.

The man who died “resided alone in a forested area and reported no recent travel and no close contacts with recent travel, illness, or similar lesions,” the health bulletin said.

It’s unclear how AKPV is transmitted but researchers say it may be zoonotic, meaning it can jump from animals to humans. The bulletin said that tests found evidence of current or previous infection in several species of small mammals in the Fairbanks area, including red-backed voles, and at least one domestic pet.

The man said he had cared for a stray cat at his home, the bulletin said.

The cat tested negative for the virus but it “regularly hunted small mammals and frequently scratched the patient,” the bulletin said.

That opens the possibility that the cat had the virus on its claws when it scratched him. The bulletin said a “notable” scratch near the armpit area where the first symptom — a red lesion — was noted.

Health officials said there hasn’t been any documented cases of humans passing on the virus but they recommended people with skin lesions possibly caused by Alaskapox to cover the affected area with a bandage.”

Other suggestions are thoroughly washing hands, avoid sharing clothing that might have touched the lesions and to launder clothing and sheets separately from other household items.

Health authorities also urged Alaskans to follow federal health precautions when around wildlife to avoid potential Alaskapox infections.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing hands with soap and water after contacting wild animals or their feces. Hunters should always wear gloves when handling dead animals, even if they are freshly killed, the agency suggests.

United States News

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip walk through a mak...

Associated Press

Rifts seem to appear between Israel’s political and military leadership over conduct of the Gaza war

In a rare public rift between the country’s leadership, an Israeli army spokesman appeared to question the goal of destroying Hamas.

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Probe finds carelessness caused Jewish student group’s omission from New Jersey high school yearbook

An investigation into how and why a Jewish student group was erased from a New Jersey high school yearbook found the omission was caused by negligence and carelessness, but was not done on purpose or out of malice, the school district announced Wednesday. East Brunswick Public Schools hired a law firm to investigate after the […]

7 hours ago

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday, June 18, 2024, that he wants to restrict students' ...

Associated Press

California governor wants to restrict smartphone usage in schools

Gavin Newsom announced he wants to restrict students' usage of phones during the school day, citing the mental health risks of social media.

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting in Philadelphia wounds 7 people, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Seven people were wounded Wednesday evening in a shooting in Philadelphia, police said. The shooting happened just before 6:30 p.m. in North Philadelphia. The victims include a 19-year-old man who was shot in the leg, a 31-year-old woman shot in the hand, a 23-year-old man shot in the buttock, and two women […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

Boaters find $1 million of cocaine floating off Florida Keys

MIAMI (AP) — Recreational boaters found $1 million worth of cocaine floating in the ocean off the Florida Keys. Samuel Briggs II, the acting chief patrol agent of the U.S. Border Patrol, wrote about the find in a social media post on X. Briggs posted video Monday night showing the wrapped packages of cocaine being […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Police credit New Yorkers for suspect’s arrest in the rape of a 13-year-old girl

NEW YORK (AP) — Residents of a New York City neighborhood were praised for their role in the arrest of an Ecuadorian accused of raping a 13-year-old girl, a crime that the city’s police commissioner said “shocked our entire city.” Christian Geovanny Inga-Landi, 25, was arrested early Tuesday outside a deli in Corona, Queens. He […]

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Elderly Alaska man is first reported person to die of recently discovered Alaskapox virus