Infectious Disease Information
UAFS Infectious Disease Mitigation and Prevention
The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith has created this page to provide our campus and community with accurate, concise, and timely tactics for infectious disease mitigation and prevention.
The information presented below is updated regularly and reflects best practices and campus policies surrounding infectious diseases including COVID-19 and monkeypox. Specific details are listed below.
People with COVID-19 have reported a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.
Possible symptoms can include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
If you experiencing any of these symptoms, consider the following options:
- Get tested for COVID-19.
- If you have already tested positive for COVID-19, learn more about the CDC's isolation guidance.
When To Seek Emergency Medical Attention
Look for emergency warning* signs for COVID-19:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
If someone is showing any of these signs, call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility. Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
*This list is not comprehensive of all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
The first case of monkeypox in Arkansas was identified in July 2022.
People with monkeypox may first develop a flu-like illness with fever, headache, muscle
aches, exhaustion, and enlarged lymph nodes. A characteristic rash, which can appear
like blisters or pimples, occurs a few days later. However, in recent cases, patients
have developed localized rashes around the genitals or anus without having flu-like
Early flu-like symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
The rash sometimes is located on or near the genitals or anus, but may be in other areas like the hands, feet, chest, neck, or face.
- The sores can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
- The sores typically go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
- Sores may be inside the body including the mouth, vagina, or anus.
Monkeypox is spread through close contact and can be transmitted to anyone regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity. It can be spread by direct skin-to-skin contact with infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. This can include household and/or intimate contact. Spreading can also occur when contacting contaminated items such as clothing. It may be transmitted through contact with respiratory secretions; however, it is not an airborne illness.
Monkeypox is NOT spread through casual, brief conversations or walking by someone with monkeypox, like at a grocery store.
How Long Do Symptoms Last?
Monkeypox symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash one to four days later.
Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.
If you have a new or unexplained rash or other symptoms, see your healthcare provider for medical attention and evaluation.
- If you do not have a provider or health insurance, you can visit a public health clinic.
- If you seek medical evaluation for possible monkeypox, cover all parts of the rash with clothing, gloves, or bandages; wear a well-fitting mask; and remind the healthcare provider that this virus is circulating.
- Avoid close contact, including sexual or intimate contact, with anyone until you have been evaluated by a healthcare provider.
- See CDC's Social Gatherings, Safer Sex, and Monkeypox page for additional information on how to reduce your risk of monkeypox.
If you have received a monkeypox diagnosis, avoid having close contact with others until your symptoms have gone away and the rash has healed completely.
If I suspect I that I may have monkeypox, how can I get tested?
If you have any symptoms of monkeypox, talk to your healthcare provider - even if you don't think you had contact with someone who has monkeypox. If you do not have a healthcare provider, the Arkansas Department of Health encourages Arkansas residents to call its hotline at 1-800-803-7847. In Fort Smith tests are available at:
- Mercy Emergency Room
- Baptist Health Emergency Room
- UAMS West
There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox virus infections. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections.
Antivirals such as tecovirimat (TPOXX) may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, such as patients with weakened immune systems.
If you have symptoms of monkeypox, you should talk to your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has monkeypox.
Most people with monkeypox recover fully within two to four weeks without the need for medical treatment.