LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Monkeypox infection numbers continue a steady climb for the Natural State.

Friday, Aug. 12, the Arkansas Department of Health reported the state now has 15 cases of the virus after starting the week with 12 cases, a 25% increase.

A month prior, July 3, the state had one case of the disease. A month later it was declared a public health emergency on Aug. 4.

Monkeypox is a relatively rare disease, related to smallpox, which infects with a rash or sore (a pox) and flu-like symptoms. It is rarely fatal, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Monkeypox is spread, according to CDC, by close intimate contact with someone already infected with the virus, or touching items such as clothing or linen which have been touched by someone infected.

Unlike COVID-19 and its masking requirements, monkeypox is not spread through casual, brief conversations or walking by someone with monkeypox, for example at a grocery store.

Arkansas Department of Health states symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle pain, and a painful rash that occurs seven to 14 days after exposure. The CDC states that in some cases a rash breaks out without the fever or body aches. The rash can occur on several places throughout the body.

If someone thinks they are infected, they should check with their healthcare providers. Health care providers with infected patients are encouraged to contact ADH.

According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the monkeypox virus is on the rise globally, as well as in the United States. It is treatable, with testing as well as vaccines available.