In February 2014, a person with the Ebola virus disease (EVD) was registered in Guinea. By the end of April, the outbreak had spread to more than 250 people in Guinea and had crossed into Liberia and Sierra Leone. As of July 23, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there have been 1,201 cases of the Ebola virus disease in West Africa, including 672 deaths, making this the most severe Ebola outbreak in recorded history.
Phebe Hospital, a Lutheran hospital in Liberia, has been dealing with the Ebola outbreak first-hand. Seven of the health care workers at Phebe Hospital have tested positive for the Ebola virus, including three nurses who died from the virus on July 23.
Working with Global Health Ministries (GHM) and the Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL), Lutheran Disaster Response is sending five pallets of Personal Protection Equipment via airfreight shipment to Phebe Hospital and Curran Hospital (also Lutheran affiliation) in Liberia to assist in the response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in that country. The Personal Protection Equipment being sent consists of hazmat suits with hoods and boots and several cases of disinfectant with spray bottles. These materials will allow healthcare workers to safely provide care for patients who are infected with the virus.
Please join us in praying for our brothers and sisters in Liberia and the rest of the West Africa region who are dealing with the risks of the Ebola virus. May Christ's healing hands grant them relief and protection. If you would like to support Lutheran Disaster Response's work in providing assistance against the Ebola virus disease in West Africa, please visit the Lutheran Disaster Response giving page.
What is Ebola virus disease?
Ebola virus disease (EVD) was formerly called Ebola hemorrhagic fever. It is a severe illness in humans that is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids and indirect contact with contaminated materials, such as bed linens that have been contaminated by an infected person's bodily fluids. There is no evidence that EVD can be spread through airborne transmission.
Initial symptoms of EVD include fever, weakness and muscle aches. Progressed symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and internal and external bleeding. The incubation period for the virus is up to 21 days, and an infected person is not contagious until she or he starts experiencing symptoms.
There is no vaccine for EVD, nor is there a cure. Treatment consists of supportive therapies to treat the symptoms.
Transmission can be prevented by avoiding close contact with Ebola patients and by wearing proper protective gear while caring for patients. Outbreaks typically occur in Central Africa. It is being reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) that this current outbreak is the first major outbreak in West Africa.