The unexpected arrival of Monkey Pox in the UK highlights the importance protective gloves in the NHS

The unexpected arrival of Monkey Pox in the UK highlights the importance protective gloves in the NHS

Monkey Pox has been named as one of the 37 viruses which poses the largest, potential, threat to populations across the world. First recorded in humans in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970, the disease is now most commonly found in Nigeria. In 2003 it made its way to the USA where 37 people were infected. In the UK, however, we have been lucky enough to avoid major outbreaks, but just yesterday news broke of an NHS worker who caught this potentially deadly disease in the line of duty.

The mother of two, 40, from Lancashire has spoken out after she and her husband developed the flu-like symptoms and spots which characterise Monkey Pox. She is the third person in the UK to catch this disease but had something to say about how it may be spreading; she believes that she could have avoided catching his disease if the NHS had provided protective gloves which were fit for purpose. She states that the gloves provided were too short to cover her wrists and arms adequately and so left her skin exposed while she changed bedding in Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

This may, of course, be the case; direct contact with bodily fluids such as sweat, and saliva are the most common ways by which people contract many diseases. What most people do not realise, however, is that this is not the only way by which people can contract such diseases.

When contaminated fluids and liquids are brought into contact with objects like door handles, glasses and mugs, or even sterile gloves and glove dispensers it is possible for the people who touch them to become infected. Thankfully, this is avoidable. Traditional dispensation systems for sterile, single-use gloves are major causes of cross-contamination. This is because multiple gloves are touched when any person reaches into the container for a single set. So, while the person wearing the gloves may be safe the patients and objects that they touch may very well become infected because of this poor design.

If we are to protect our health workers and their patients, then, it is key to moderate not only the equipment that we use but the ways in which it is provided.

Polyco Healthlines modified dispensers, for example, can cut rates of cross-contamination by as much as 90%.

The size of gloves, too, is key; gloves should be large enough to cover all exposed skin which may be at risk of encountering infected bodily fluids or contaminated surfaces.

Had Blackpool Victoria Hospital provided its staff with adequate equipment and safe dispensation methods, then this mother of two might well have avoided contracting this disease.