Alaskapox : Orthopox Virus
An elderly man from Alaska recently became the first person to die after contracting Alaskapox.
- Alaskapox is an orthopox virus that was first discovered in Alaska, USA, in 2015.
- It is a double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the same genus (Orthopoxvirus) as smallpox, monkeypox, and cowpox.
- Orthopoxviruses are zoonotic viruses that can infect various mammals, including humans.
- Current evidence indicates that the Alaskapox virus primarily occurs in small mammals.
- The virus has been most commonly identified in red-backed voles and shrews.
- Symptoms of Alaskapox include one or more skin lesions (bumps or pustules) and other symptoms like swollen lymph nodes and joint and/or muscle pain.
- Nearly all patients had mild illnesses that resolved on their own after a few weeks.
- Immunocompromised people might be at increased risk for more severe illness.