The deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) has surfaced in the sub-region of West Africa, affecting Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone; this is the largest outbreak ever recorded. The aggressive virus is among those that have neither cure nor vaccine to date. The fatality rate is 90 percent among those who don't receive treatment.
Since this is the first time this virus is affecting people in this part of Africa, there is a great need for awareness about its nature, effects, symptoms and means of prevention.
The Ebola outbreak has claimed thousands of lives in the past several months, growing rapidly in countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The virus causes hemorrhagic fever and is often fatal; there is no vaccine or established cure.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is working with the West Africa Initiative (WAI) in Liberia and Sierra Leone and with Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance on the immediate medical crisis as well as the secondary impacts on communities in the region. The response has focused on:
- Supplying essential protective gear and supplies to protect medical workers,
- Raising awareness on the symptoms of Ebola and preventive methods,
- Improving food security and incomes of families by maintaining agricultural production at the community level.
PDA is monitoring reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other sources in the United States to determine an appropriate national response should a need arise.
As of August 1, 2014, World Mission reported that no PC(USA) mission co-workers were in areas where there has been an outbreak of the Ebola virus.