A healthcare worker has become the third person to be diagnosed with monkeypox in England.
The person was involved in the care of a patient who is thought to have contracted the virus after travelling to Nigeria.
They were the second case of the rare infection recorded in the UK after the first was diagnosed just days earlier and involved a resident of Nigeria staying at a naval base in Cornwall who started showing symptoms.
Public Health England previously said there was “no UK link” between the first two patients, but the latest case is a healthcare worker who was involved in caring for the second patient at Blackpool Victoria Hospital before they were known to be carrying the infection.
The third individual is now being treated at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
Dr Nick Phin, deputy director of the National Infection Service at PHE, said: “This healthcare worker cared for the patient before a diagnosis of monkeypox was made.
“We have been actively monitoring contacts for 21 days after exposure to detect anyone presenting with an illness so that they can be assessed quickly. It is therefore not wholly unexpected that a case has been identified.
He added: “This person has been isolated and we are taking a highly precautionary approach to ensure that all contacts are traced.”
Monkeypox does not spread easily between people and most who contract the infection recover within a few weeks, although severe illness can occur in some people. There was a large outbreak in Nigeria in September 2017 and sporadic cases have been reported since.