< Back to 68k.news US front page

State: Peninsula man's death 1st known fatal infection of Alaskapox

Original source (on modern site)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The State of Alaska Department of Health says a Kenai Peninsula man died in January from complications due to the viral infection Alaskapox.

According to the State of Alaska Epidemiology, the older man was hospitalized in Anchorage after suffering from a painful lesion in his shoulder area.

Before his death, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the presence of Alaskapox in the man, a virus first discovered in a woman over eight years ago by a Fairbanks doctor. Treatment of the virus improved his symptoms temporarily, but the state bulletin said, "he later exhibited delayed wound healing, malnutrition, acute renal failure, and respiratory failure. He died in late January 2024."

In an interview with KTVF in December, Fairbanks Dr. Zachary Werle said the CDC identified the virus as a novel orthopoxvirus and noted humans with pets could be at a greater risk of infection.

"Several of the patients also had pet cats so one thought is that cats may be in an intermediary, if they are catching small rodents or mammals themselves, they could pick up the virus and then pass it on to their human owners," Werle told KTVF.

Since 2015, there have been a total of seven confirmed Alaskapox infections, according to the state bulletin.

The bulletin notes that the man reportedly looked after a stray cat and also came into contact with small mammals while living alone in a wooded area.

"Serum and mucosal swabs collected from the stray cat were submitted to CDC for antibody and orthopoxvirus testing; all tests were negative," the bulletin states.

Read the full bulletin from the Department of Epidemiology below.

Copyright 2024 KTUU. All rights reserved.

< Back to 68k.news US front page