Posted: 12.02.2024 15:24:00

First death from newly-found Alaskapox virus confirmed in US

The first ever death from the new Alaskapox virus (AKPV) – similar to smallpox – was recorded on the Kenai Peninsula in the US state of Alaska in late January, TASS reports


According to the Alaska Public Media, citing the state health department, the victim of the virus was an elderly man who lived in a remote rural area, whose immune system was weakened due to cancer treatment.

The man could have contracted the virus from a stray cat that he regularly fed. Research indicates the possibility of transmission of the virus through wounds, as the cat frequently scratched the elderly man. However, the cat’s blood tested negative for the Alaskapox virus.

To date, there has been no evidence of person-to-person transmission of the Alaskapox virus, according to epidemiologist Julia Rogers. The expert noted that the virus circulates primarily within animal populations with spillover into humans occasionally, adding it’s unlikely someone who is not immunocompromised would die from the virus.