With the second of two American aid workers stricken with the Ebola virus arriving on United States soil for treatment Tuesday, fears and tensions about the potential for the deadly virus to spread stateside remain high.

Connecticut's hospitals are prepared and "hyper-alert" to handle any patient who might show up displaying Ebola-like symptoms, workers said Tuesday.

"If anybody comes in that had traveled to the endemic areas with those symptoms, you would immediately initiate all type of contact- and airborne-precautions," Dr. Zane Saul, chief of infectious diseases at Bridgeport Hospital, told the Courant Tuesday. "You just have to be judicious and make sure you're being very careful and taking a good travel history with anybody with those symptom."

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified more than 1,600 confirmed or suspected cases of the Ebola virus in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, according to information on its website. The virus, which is transmitted through direct contact with an infected victim's blood or bodily fluid or items contaminated by those fluids, has resulted in 887 deaths in those countries as of Tuesday, according to the CDC.

The Ebola virus has no known cure or vaccination, according to the CDC, and results in death in more than half the victims who contract it. There has never been a reported case of Ebola in the United States.

"The typical story would be someone who has an exposure to West Africa, who recently came from West Africa," said Dr. Kevin Dieckhaus, division chief of infectious diseases at the University of Connecticut Health Center. "A patient like that showing potential symptoms would be immediately isolated, so the cycle of transmission would be broken very, very easily."

An unidentified man who arrived at the emergency room of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City Monday showing Ebola-like symptoms said he had recently been to West Africa. He was isolated and quarantined within seven minutes of his arrival, according to media reports. Mount Sinai officials said they were still waiting for test results Tuesday to determine if the man has the Ebola virus, but also said that his condition had already begun to improve and that diagnosis does now not appear likely.

Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever disease with symptoms that include fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pains, according to the CDC. Symptoms can appear two to 21 days after exposure, according to the CDC, but eight to 10 days is most common. Ebola is not transmitted through the air or through casual contact.

Saul said that many of Ebola's symptoms are fairly common and could be the result of a number of other diseases or ailments, such as malaria or even Lyme disease, but that if a patient shows symptoms and meets the recent travel criteria "you absolutely don't take any chances."

"There's a protocol in place," Saul said. "Everybody from the chairman of the ER through all the staff down knows what they are and what you have to do."

The CDC has posted guidelines on its website detailing "well-established protocols" for medical personnel on how to contain and prevent the spread of the virus, including information about private rooms, equipment and bathrooms for individuals who might bear symptoms

A specially equipped medical plane with an isolation room was used to transport both infected American patients from West Africa to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment. Dr. Kent Brantly arrived on Saturday with symptoms of the disease; Nancy Writebol, an aid worker who also contracted the virus in Liberia, was transported via the same plane Tuesday. The CDC has also advised against all "non-essential" travel to the affected West African regions.

"We have some pretty significant isolation precautions in place. They are really much more fastidious than they are in Africa," Dieckhaus said, adding that staff at the UConn Health Center were "hyper-alert" for patients who might bear symptoms of the virus and meet the recent travel criteria.

"This is getting a lot of attention," said Lynn Sosa, deputy state epidemiologist for the Connecticut Department of Health. "I think people do have a high level of awareness about it. Basically, anybody who is coming from that region of the world who has the appropriate symptoms are going to get very closely monitored and questioned at Connecticut hospitals."

Ulysses Wu, director of infectious disease at St. Francis Hospital, said that very few doctors in America have experience working with or treating the Ebola virus, but that he was not overly concerned about the potential of it spreading in America because of our advanced quarantine and prevention protocols.

Still, Wu said, all the attention paid to the deadly virus in recent days doesn't hurt.

"People are just being people, but it's good because it allows us to have a heighted sense of alertness for diseases like this," Wu said. "The key is to not let it devolve us into a sense of panic."