Elderly man becomes first ever recorded death from ‘Alaskapox’
An elderly man has become the first recorded patient to die from ‘Alaskapox’ – a recently discovered virus closely related to smallpox.
Just seven cases of the infection have been reported since 2015, when it was first observed by scientists in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Known as AKPV, the virus is thought to spread from small rodents to humans. It causes mild illness including small skin lesions, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle pain.
The man who died from AKPV was immunocompromised and undergoing treatment for cancer, leading to complications after one of his skin lesions became infected. This resulted in kidney failure and ultimately his death in late January.
He lived alone in a remote part of Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, and was thought to have been infected after being scratched by a stray cat, according to officials.
There is no evidence that AKPV can be transmitted between humans, although Alaskan health officials advised skin lesions should be covered with bandages as an extra precaution.