ARKANSAS, USA — There are now a total of 15 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). On Wednesday, Aug. 10, officials confirmed the rise in cases by nine in the last week.
In late July, the ADH said the state had four confirmed cases of the 3,486 total cases in the United States at the time. Since then, according to CDC data, the total cases of monkeypox in the country has risen to 9,492.
"There appears to be two different strains of Monkeypox circulating in the U.S. as part of this large worldwide outbreak and we’re still learning about them," said Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the ADH.
On Aug. 4, the federal government declared monkeypox a public health emergency when the outbreak had infected more than 7,000 Americans.
The declaration will help fund and free up resources to fight the virus.
Symptoms include fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body.
The virus can also spread by touching objects, fabrics such as clothing, bedding, or towels, and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
Many, though not all, cases have been reported among men who have sex with men. But the California Department of Public Health says anyone can get monkeypox after having close physical contact with someone who has the infection, “especially contact with infected lesions, bodily fluids, or other contaminated surfaces.” However, the public health agency says “the current risk of getting monkeypox in the general public is very low.”
According to the CDC, the smallpox vaccine provides protection against other pox viruses, including monkeypox. When smallpox was eradicated globally more than 40 years ago, officials stopped vaccinating against it, which officials believe may have led to part of the monkeypox outbreak.
The ADH says the vaccine is available for those who meet the following criteria:
- confirmed and presumed monkeypox exposures (includes those who had close physical contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox)
- those who know their sexual partner was diagnosed with monkeypox
- men who have sex with men (MSM) who in the last 14 days had a sexual encounter in a venue where there was known to be spread of monkeypox or in an area where monkeypox is spreading