1. ITV Report

Woman being tested for Ebola in Northampton

Photo: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire

Northampton General Hospital has confirmed a patient has been admitted with a suspected case of Ebola.

Tests are being carried out on a woman who has recently travelled abroad.

Staff at the hospital say they have isolated the patient and are confident they've taken all necessary precautions and they have stressed there is no risk to the public.

"I can confirm that we have a suspected case of Ebola. It is a female adult. She will be in isolation if she is suspected of having the illness."

– Northampton Hospital

The hospital said it was unable to provide further details about the identity of the woman or how she may have contracted the illness.

The development comes after the London's Royal Free Hospital, which is treating British nurse Pauline Cafferkey for Ebola, said this week she was no longer critically ill.

Northampton Hospital says Ebola is considered unlikely but testing is being done as a precaution. Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA Archive

Public Health England is on standby to carry out tests to check if the woman has Ebola.

A spokesman confirmed the patient had a history of travel to west Africa, although it thought Ebola was "unlikely".

"PHE can confirm it is due to receive a sample for Ebola testing, involving an individual at Northampton General Hospital with a history of travel to west Africa.

"Ebola is considered unlikely but testing is being done as a precaution, as is our usual practice in these circumstances."

– Public Health England

The latest figures from Public Health England show that 145 Ebola-related tests have been carried out in the UK up until 5 January 2015 but only one has proved positive.

The authority said: "It is important to remember that the infection can only be transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids - such as blood, vomit or faeces - of an infected person."

Northampton General says it has a robust plan for dealing with possible cases of Ebola. Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire

Northampton General Hospital says on its website that it has plans in place to identify and manage possible cases of Ebola.

"We have robust systems and processes which will ensure we are able to identify and isolate a patient who presents with symptoms of Ebola or any other infectious disease. We have sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment, and access to expert testing and advice."

– Northampton General Hospital website
In November 2014, Northampton General Hospital carried out an Ebola treatment exercise. Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire

In November 2014, the hospital was involved with an emergency exercise to test its plan for dealing with the disease. A member of NHS staff played the role of a someone returning from Africa arriving at an urgent care centre in Corby with sickness and diarrhoea.

In the mock operation, the 'patient' was transferred to A&E in Northampton where staff were told it was an exercise but their procedure was monitored.

At the time, the hospital's Chief Operating Officer, Deborah Needham to the Northampton Chronicle & Echo: "Everything went to plan, although the excerise did falg up that we could get even better face masks and a newer isolation box to carry blood sample in."

There have been 10,000 cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone and 3,000 deaths. Credit: ITV News

People can become infected with the Ebola virus if they come into contact with the blood, body fluids or organs of an infected person.

According to the World Health Organisation there have been more than 21,000 cases of Ebola in the current outbreak and 8,400 deaths. Around half the cases have been recorded in Sierra Leone in West Africa.