Health chiefs across Derbyshire insist they are fully prepared to deal with any cases of the deadly Ebola virus.
Bosses at Chesterfield Royal Hospital say they have a number of measures in place to combat the highly contagious disease – should an outbreak occur in Derbyshire.
The Calow hospital has set aside isolation rooms for suspected Ebola patients while frontline nursing staff have been given protective clothing.
Workers are being kept constantly up-to-date on the “evolving situation” and receiving training.
The incurable bug – which causes bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose – has killed more than 4,000 people in West Africa since the start of the year.
Health organisations have been on high alert this week after it emerged a nurse in Madrid had become the first person to contract Ebola outside Africa.
The risk of an Ebola outbreak in the UK is “very low”, according to the Government.
Diane Simpson, senior matron for infection prevention and control at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, told the Derbyshire Times: “It’s an evolving situation and we’re working with a number of agencies, including the Department of Health, for the latest information.
“Our frontline nursing staff are being kept constantly up-to-date and receiving training.
“We’ve got protective clothing and we’ve got a special room so if a suspected Ebola patient is admitted to the hospital they will be kept isolated.
“We certainly don’t want to create a panic – we want to reassure people that we have a number of measures in place to deal with any suspected cases of Ebola,” she added.
Richard Henderson, director of operations at East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), said the organisation was planning “for all eventualities”.
He said: “Frontline colleagues have been issued with personal protective equipment and clear instructions on how the gear should be used and worn.”
Doctors across Derbyshire have been told to look out for signs of the Ebola virus among patients.
An infected person will typically develop a fever, headache, sore throat and intense joint and muscle pain. These symptoms start suddenly, between two and 21 days after becoming infected, but usually after five to seven days. Diarrhoea, vomiting, a rash, stomach pain and impaired kidney and liver function follow. The patient then bleeds internally – and may also bleed from the ears, eyes, nose or mouth.