Arkansas Department of Health director speaks on the rise of monkeypox, 15 cases reported

As of Aug. 11, the Arkansas Department of Health has tracked 15 cases of monkeypox in the state.

The department offers an information call-in line for anyone who has questions about COVID-19 or monkeypox symptoms, transmission, testing and treatment.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, director of the department, said laboratories from across the state are able to electronically send positive test results for monkeypox so the department can track the number of cases more efficiently.

"I think we will see additional cases in Arkansas," she said. "What we see will depend on what happens around the country and how its spread."

More: Arkansas has confirmed 11 monkeypox cases as of Thursday

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha is the director for the Arkansas Department of Health.
Dr. Jennifer Dillaha is the director for the Arkansas Department of Health.

Vaccines are only being provided to the following individuals at this time.

  • 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.

Dr. Dillaha said the department would like to be able to offer the vaccine to anyone who may be at risk for being exposed.

"When we can do that I think it will make a big difference in the number of cases that we see," she said.

Dr. Dillaha was previously the department's medical director for immunizations and the outbreak response program.

"It's something that I'm familiar with and something that our staff's working hard to make sure that people get the right care when they need it," she said.

This article originally appeared on Fort Smith Times Record: Arkansas Department of Health reports 15 monkeypox cases