"First Fatal Case Of Alaskapox, A Newly Identified Viral Disease"

"An elderly man on the Kenai Peninsula has died from Alaskapox, making him the first person to be killed by the viral disease that was identified only nine years ago, state health officials reported on Friday.

Aside from being the first fatal human case, it is the documented first human infection outside of the Fairbanks area, indicating that the virus, which is known to be harbored by small mammals, has spread beyond the wildlife populations in that Interior community.

The patient, who had an immune system that was compromised because of treatment for cancer, first reported signs of the infection in September when a tender lesion appeared in his armpit area, according to a bulletin issued by the state Division of Public Health’s epidemiology section. The infection worsened, and after six weeks of emergency-care visits, he was hospitalized locally. As the situation deteriorated and his arm movement became impaired, he was transferred to an Anchorage hospital. There, numerous tests were needed to identify the infection, the bulletin said."

Yereth Rosen reports for the Alaska Beacon February 9, 2024.

Source: Alaska Beacon, 02/12/2024