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Outbreak of Alaskapox rocks state

Outbreak of Alaskapox rocks state
Scientists are still investigating how the smallpox-like disease infects humans, as two people recover

Alaskan authorities have said two more cases of “Alaskapox” have been found in the state, with a child and middle-aged woman contracting the rare disease.

“Alaskapox”, as the virus is informally known, was first detected in a person in 2015, and another in August 2020, and all four infections have so far been in the Fairbanks area, de acordo com funcionários.

In an announcement last week, Alaska’s public health department acknowledged the new infections, which were detected in July and August after a child and middle-aged woman found lesions on their bodies.

The pair also reported symptoms including fever and joint pain, and recovered after approximately three weeks, it was said. Até aqui, there have been no deaths from any known cases of “Alaskapox”.

The disease, which is different to that of SARS-CoV2 – or Covid-19 – is called an orthopoxvirus and is double stranded and mainly found in small mammals. Similar viruses include cowpox, smallpox and monkeypox.

De acordo com The Anchorage Daily , scientists believe the small animals could have transferred the disease to those who contracted “Alaskapox”. Contudo, it is not believed that people can pass the virus on to others.

Antibodies for the rare disease were found by scientists in a number of squirrels, vowels and shrews last year – and scientists at the University of Alaska reportedly investigating how the virus spreads from small mammals to people.

The finding was made after traps were set in the woodlands around Fairbanks, allowing scientists to take tissue and blood samples of the creatures.

“Alaskapox” could also be transferred from small mammals to people via domestic animals and pets, although those belonging to the two new infections did not have traces of the virus, funcionários disseram.

Neither of the two people who contracted the virus had been outside of Fairbanks, mais que 360 miles north of Anchorage, in the four weeks before falling ill, officials added.