AR Briefly

Arkansas adds 5 new monkeypox cases

By: - August 16, 2022 3:00 am

Arkansas health officials identified five more cases of monkeypox on Monday, bringing the state’s cumulative case total to 20.

A lab identified the first case of the virus, a less-severe cousin of smallpox, in July. As of Friday, the state had 15 cases.

Monkeypox symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain and a painful rash that occurs one to two weeks after exposure.

The virus spreads through skin-to-skin contact with infectious rash, scabs or body fluids. Spreading also may occur when contacting contaminated items, like clothing.



The Arkansas Department of Health emphasizes that monkeypox doesn’t spread through casual, brief conversations or standing in close proximity to someone, like at a grocery store.

Most people fully recover within two to four weeks without treatment, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, there are antiviral medications available, particularly for those with compromised immune systems or pre-existing skin conditions.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensed two vaccines for monkeypox. Post-exposure vaccination helps prevent illness, but it isn’t effective once symptoms have developed, according to health experts.

Those eligible for vaccination in Arkansas, according to the Health Department, are:

  • Those exposed to known monkeypox, including those who had close physical contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox.
  • Those who know their sexual partner contracted monkeypox.
  • Men who have sex with men who in the last 14 days had a sexual encounter in a venue where there was known to be spread of monkeypox.

More information is available from the Arkansas Department of Health online or by calling its monkeypox hotline: 1-800-803-7847.

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Hunter Field
Hunter Field

Hunter Field is a veteran Arkansas journalist whose reporting on the state has carried him from military air strips in northwest Arkansas to soybean fields in the Arkansas delta. He spent the better part of the last decade investigating and reporting on Arkansas government and politics. For three years, he covered education policy, medical marijuana and the Arkansas General Assembly as part of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazetteā€™s Capitol Bureau. Most recently, he was the Democrat-Gazette's projects editor, leading the newspaper's investigative team. Hunter got his start in journalism covering sports for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. A Memphis native, he enjoys smoking barbecue, kayaking and fishing in his free time.