Norwich student believes he caught monkeypox at NNUH

6:00 AM September 6, 2022

Norfolk’s biggest hospital is investigating a complaint from a patient who believes he caught monkeypox while being treated at the site.

Adam Billings, a 22-year-old student at Norwich University of the Arts, was admitted to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on August 12 with an infection and was given a bed in a side room.

A few days later he began having blisters appear on his palm and chin but was discharged on August 17 and sent home with a course of antibiotics.

NUA student Adam Billings, who tested positive for monkeypox after leaving the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

NUA student Adam Billings, who tested positive for monkeypox after leaving the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

– Credit: Adam Billings

Mr Billings, from Norwich, said in the following days his blisters grew in size and he continued to experience pain so contacted his GP.

The surgery arranged for him to be tested for monkeypox and on August 25 he was called by the East of England Health Security Agency to inform him he had tested positive – and had been infectious from August 15 – three days after his hospital admission.

The hospital says it has had no confirmed cases of monkeypox since the outbreak began, but has said it is now investigating after Mr Billings alerted the patient advice and liaison service (PALS).

Mr Billings, said he believes he caught the virus while being treated at the NNUH.

He said: “When I arrived in my isolated room it was filled with dirty cups, a spit-bowl filled with phlegm and unkept bedding, which left me with not much confidence of the bedding being clean.

“At this point, I was very unwell and therefore just had to rest.”

Mr Billings said he had since felt “dizzy and disorientated” and was required to self-isolate until his blisters had scabbed over.

He added: “I think there just needs to be more awareness of how monkeypox can be spread – it is not just through very close physical contact.”

According to NHS information, the infection can be passed through touching clothing, bedding and towels used by somebody with monkeypox – which is how Mr Billings believes he contracted it.

Nancy Fontaine

NNUH chief nurse, Professor Nancy Fontaine

– Credit: Archant

Nancy Fontaine, NNUH chief nurse and director of infection, prevention and control, said: “I am very sorry to hear about Mr Billings’ experience while in our care.

“We take complaints such as this extremely seriously and we are investigating – and will be discussing this matter privately with him.”

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare infection that is most commonly found in west or central Africa.

However, there has recently been an increase in the number of cases in the United Kingdom.

Since an outbreak of the condition reached UK shores in May, more than 3,200 cases have been confirmed in England.

However, according to the latest figures, just six have been confirmed in Norfolk.

Of the England cases, almost seven out of 10 have been in London.

The majority of the cases have affected men who have sex with other men, but the condition can affect anybody.

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