US airlifts anti-Ebola supplies to Liberia

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Top U.S. health officials flew into Monrovia, Liberia, on Sunday with 16 tons of needed medical supplies to help fight the worst outbreak of Ebola in history.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said Monday it had sent supplies and emergency equipment from its regional warehouse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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Included were 10,000 sets of personal protective equipment (PPE), two water treatment systems, two portable water tanks capable of storing 10,000 liters each and 100 rolls of plastic sheeting, which can be used to build Ebola treatment tents.

CDC Director Thomas Frieden and Jeremy Konyndyk, Director of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, also flew in Sunday to see the impact of the disease first-hand.

While Ebola is an extremely deadly disease it is not as contagious as other diseases such as the common flu. The disease is only communicable through direct contact with bodily fluids.

Unfortunately, many of the health workers in West Africa lack access to such basic protective equipment as surgical gloves, allowing the virus to spread.

“We know that healthcare workers in Liberia and other affected countries are working at great personal risk to prevent, identify and treat Ebola,” Konyndyk said.

The current Ebola outbreak has killed over 1,400 people in West Africa, but Liberia has been hit the hardest. The World Health Organization has recorded over a thousand cases of the deadly virus in Liberia alone, including 624 deaths.

The WHO has a plan to stop the outbreak in the next six to nine months but says it will need over $430 million for the effort.

Another problem has been the lack of approved drugs and vaccines for Ebola. Governments around the world are scrambling to come up with treatments.

Canadian drugmaker Immunovaccine announced Monday that an experimental Ebola vaccine, tested on monkeys by the National Institutes of Health, has shown some promise.

Four monkeys treated with the experimental vaccine survived after being infected with Ebola.

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