Woman kicked off flight after skin condition 'mistaken for monkeypox'

·News Reporter
·3-min read

A woman claims she was kicked off a flight because of her chronic eczema and says "misinformation" about monkeypox is to blame.

Traveller Jacqueline Nguyen — who's suffered with the skin condition all her life — recalled the ordeal on TikTok last week after flying with American carrier Spirit Airlines.

A global outbreak of monkeypox has officials on high alert with more than 28,000 cases confirmed worldwide, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The infectious disease causes lesions on the skin similar to pimples, blisters or sores, but Ms Nguyen claims anyone with a "visible non-contagious skin condition" is now being targeted.

TikTok user Jacqueline Nguyen
TikTok user Jacqueline Nguyen suffered from eczema and claims she was interrogated by airline staff who thought she had Monkeypox. Source: TikTok/jacqueline.ngu

The traveller claims she was forced off the plane and "interrogated" about her skin condition and that airline staff requested "medical documents," presumably to prove she had eczema.

"They had me get off the plane in front of everyone along with my wife to interrogate me about the eczema I've had my whole life," she wrote on the social media video.

"They asked me to provide medical documents and told my wife to watch her attitude. I've never been so humiliated in my life."

Alongside the video, which has since garnered over 1.4 million views, Ms Nguyen wrote: "Misinformation leads to discrimination/hostility. Everyone with a visible non-contagious skin condition has been anticipating this".

She also urged Spirit Airlines to "teach your employees what monkeypox looks like before you catch hundreds of medical discrimination cases".

Others 'terrified' about similar treatment

In a follow-up clip shared days later, the TikTok user claims she was eventually allowed to board the flight after showing staff a tube of her prescribed eczema cream.

The now-viral video attracted dozens of comments from people who fear they might receive similar treatment.

"People used to bully me thinking my eczema was contagious and I'm terrified it's gonna happen again," one revealed.

Monkeypox skin rash on hands and body
There have been more than 28,000 cases of monkeypox recorded worldwide. Source: AAP

"As someone with eczema and psoriasis, I am terrified someone will mistake my rashes for monkeypox. I am so sorry this happened to you!" said another.

Another who suffered from keratosis pilaris, another skin condition said: "I didn’t think about the possibility of this happening, wow."

Others were sympathetic toward Ms Nguyen and called out "bullying" behaviour.

Monkeybox outbreak in Australia

As of Thursday, Australia has reported 57 confirmed cases of monkeypox as case numbers continue to rise.

This includes 31 in NSW, 22 in Victoria, 2 in the ACT, 1 in Queensland and 1 in South Australia.

Last month, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly declared the outbreak as an "incident of national significance".

His comments came just days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern.

"The experience internationally and in Australia to date is most cases have been among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men," Mr Kelly said.

While monkeypox isn’t considered a sexually transmissible infection, physical contact with an infected person during sex carries a "significant risk of transmission".

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.