NHS worker who caught monkeypox fears she has passed on infection to husband

David Harding
Contributor
The monkeypox disease – a healthcare worker fears she may have passed on the infection to her husband (Getty)

A NHS worker who became only the third person in England to be diagnosed with monkeypox fears she may have passed the disease on to her husband.

The 40-year-old healthcare assistant, a mum-of-one, was infected after helping treat a patient at Blackpool Victoria Hospital earlier this month.

She initially did not know the patient was carrying the infection, Public Health England (PHE) said.

It has now been reported that her 50-year-old husband has fallen ill. Her husband is feared to have the virus after he broke out in spots.

A large outbreak of Monkeypox occurred in Nigeria in September 2017 and sporadic cases have been reported since (Getty)

The woman told the Sun that she was informed by bosses that she was not at risk, which was ‘obviously nonsense’.

She also claimed that that protective equipment she was given was inadequate.

The woman told the newspaper: ‘The gloves were too short to cover my arms and left my skin exposed while changing the bed. I think that’s how I got infected.

‘They told us we weren’t at risk — but that’s obviously nonsense. I’m terrified about what may happen to me and my family.’

The patient – who was only the second case of the rare infection recorded in the UK – is believed to have contracted the virus after travelling to Nigeria.

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The woman affected was a NHS worker (PA)

The first case was diagnosed just days earlier, after a resident of Nigeria staying at a naval base in Cornwall presented with symptoms.

PHE previously said there was ‘no UK link’ between the first two patients. The third individual is being treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

WHAT IS MONKEYPOX?

It is a rare viral infection and thought to be transferred to humans from wild animals such as rodents and primates in central and west Africa. Doctors say it does not spread easily between people, but can occur when people are in close contact.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Symptoms can include headaches, fever, muscle aches and exhaustion. Sufferers can develop  severe rashes which often start on the face and can spread across the body. The rash eventually forms into a scab before falling off.

HOW SERIOUS IS IT?

Most people who contract the infection recover within a few weeks, although severe illness can occur in some cases.

WHAT TREATMENT SHOULD A PATIENT RECEIVE?

There is no specific vaccine available, although the smallpox vaccination has been highly effective in preventing the disease, the World Health Organization has said.