A 97-year-old British woman has become the oldest person to ever be struck down with chickenpox, claim doctors.
The unnamed patient, from London, had already battled the contagious bug as a child before contracting it again nine decades later.
The NHS states it’s ‘extremely rare’ for someone to be struck with it twice because most adults go on to develop shingles – when the dormant virus is reactivated.
Medics who treated the woman, who later died of a complication, at the Princess Royal University Hospital broke the news in the BMJ Case Reports.
They assumed she was too old to have chickenpox – despite having the tell-tale rash that is associated with the usually harmless virus.
The unnamed patient, from London, had already battled the contagious bug as a child before contracting it again nine decades later
They wrote: ‘To our knowledge, we present the oldest reported case of primary varicella zoster infection in an immunocompetent patient.
‘Although there has been a previously reported case, it was not regarding a patient as old as ours.’
The elderly woman visited the A&E department at the hospital in Orpington after she became concerned about her four-day-old rash.
She told her doctors how the itchy rash initially started on her feet before spreading to her thighs, chest and abdomen.
The woman, who lived alone and was a former smoker, also had been struck down with a fever and bouts of vomiting.
CHICKENPOX: THE FACTS
Chickenpox infects about 65 per cent of children in Britain before their fifth birthday – nearly eight million one to 10 year olds in the UK.
It is usually mild and clears up in a week or so, but it can be dangerous for some people, such as those with a weakened immune system.
Adults can be struck down with the highly contagious virus, which can be spread by touching a contaminated surface or being in close contact with someone infected.