First death from Alaskapox, a new viral disease, kills man on Kenai Peninsula.

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Written By Vikas Jangid

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Identifying Symptoms of Alaskapox: What to Watch For

According to the state health department, if patients develop sores, they should avoid touching them and keep them dry and covered, while practicing good hand hygiene and avoiding sharing clothes and linens with others. Those who regularly interact with wildlife may need to take extra precautions, officials advised.

There are many illnesses that can be transmitted from wildlife, so it's important to take necessary precautions and practice good hygiene when in contact with them,” Rogers stated.

Alaska public health officials are hopeful that increased awareness of this relatively new virus will make it easier to identify potential future cases.

                       Source; YouTube/Alaska's news source

As more clinicians become aware of the Alaskapox virus and how to test for it, we anticipate seeing more diagnoses in the months and years ahead,” McLaughlin said.

The recent unfortunate death of someone with a weakened immune system highlights how serious Alaskapox can be for vulnerable populations, emphasizing the urgent need for healthcare providers to be aware and ready to diagnose,” Brownstein remarked.

This case underscores the importance of monitoring wildlife diseases and their potential impact on human health, especially as human activities continue to encroach on natural habitats,” Brownstein added.

Evidence of Alaskapox

Link Olson, who serves as the curator of mammals at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, stated on Friday that tests have confirmed the presence of the virus in a 25-year-old vole specimen within the museum's collection.

“This isn’t something that just popped up in the last decade,” he remarked.

Olson mentioned that scientists at the museum, collaborating with the state epidemiology section and other institutions, have initiated a testing initiative utilizing the extensive collection of Alaska animal specimens. Additionally, once weather conditions permit, further fieldwork will be conducted to trap small mammals in their natural habitat.

Olson expressed confidence that Alaskapox could be detected in animal populations far beyond the state's borders and even outside of North America.

“I fully anticipate its discovery throughout the boreal forest,” he stated.

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