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First monkeypox case confirmed in Arkansas | What we know

Arkansas health officials have confirmed that the first case of monkeypox has been identified within the state.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — After the first case of monkeypox in the United States was confirmed in early May, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) announced Tuesday, July 5, that the first case in the state has been identified.

According to the ADH, symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain and a painful rash that can occur seven to 14 days after being exposed.

“Arkansas has been monitoring cases of monkeypox in the U.S.,” said Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the ADH. “While this news is concerning, monkeypox is not as contagious as other viruses, like COVID-19. We encourage anyone who feels they may have been exposed to monkeypox to please contact their health care provider and be tested.”

Monkeypox is transmitted through direct skin contact with the rash, scabs or body fluids as well as contaminated items such as clothing.

"It can also be transmitted through respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact; however, it is not an airborne illness," the statement released by the ADH said.

Monkeypox can be prevented through vaccination. For treatment, officials say that antiviral drugs and immunoglobulins are available.

Dr. Dillaha says that with the school year nearing, the ADH is concerned about Monkeypox transmission in schools. 

The ADH is also concerned about a new strain of coronavirus, the Ba.5 variant, that is seeing a high transmission rate. 

With the new variant on the rise and more strains of COVID this year, Dr. Dillaha explained that more steps may need to be taken to prevent the spread.

“It looks like we may need to have an additional dose this fall in order to minimize the spread of this variant when school takes place and we have a high level of spread occurring in communities,” Dr. Dillaha said.

Health officials around the world are keeping watch for more cases because, for the first time, most of the cases are among people who didn’t travel to Africa. 

The exact location of the reported case has not been made public at this time.

5NEWS will update this article with more information as it becomes available.

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