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.Monkeypox_Map
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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