An elderly man from Alaska recently became the first person to die after contracting Alaskapox.
- It is an orthopox virus that was first discovered in Alaska, USA, in 2015.
- It is a double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the same genus (Orthopoxvirus) as smallpox, monkeypox, and cowpox.
- Orthopoxviruses are zoonotic viruses that can infect various mammals, including humans.
- Current evidence indicates that the Alaskapox virus primarily occurs in small mammals. The virus has been most commonly identified in red-backed voles and shrews.
- Signs and Symptoms:
- Symptoms of Alaskapox have included one or more skin lesions (bumps or pustules) and other symptoms like swollen lymph nodes and joint and/or muscle pain.
- Nearly all patients had mild illnesses that resolved on their own after a few weeks.
- Immunocompromised people might be at increased risk for more severe illness.
- Can people with Alaskapox infect other people?
- While human-to-human transmission of Alaskapox has not yet been observed, some orthopoxviruses can spread by direct contact with lesions (particularly broken skin contact with lesion secretions).
Q1) What is a Virus?
A virus is an infectious microbe consisting of a segment of nucleic acid (either DNA or RNA) surrounded by a protein coat. A virus cannot replicate alone; instead, it must infect cells and use components of the host cell to make copies of itself. Often, a virus ends up killing the host cell in the process, causing damage to the host organism. Well-known examples of viruses causing human disease include AIDS, COVID-19, measles and smallpox.