Project HOPE Prepares to Send Medicines and Supplies to Sierra Leone Battling Deadly Ebola Outbreak

Milwood, Virginia, UNITED STATES

MILLWOOD, VA., July 31, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Project HOPE, an international health education and humanitarian organization, has begun efforts to secure medicines and supplies for Sierra Leone as the government declares a state of emergency amid the largest and deadliest known outbreak of the Ebola virus – a highly contagious and incurable disease.

HOPE is working to secure donations of a range of medical aid including antibiotics, oral rehydration salts, examination gloves and body bags, following a request from the Sierra Leone Ambassador to the United States in Washington DC. The government in Freetown declared a state of emergency on Thursday to enable it to take a more robust approach to deal with the Ebola outbreak.

The World Health Organization says the disease has claimed over 729 lives, and there are over 1,100 reported cases throughout Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria. The WHO says the virus has a fatality rate of at least 60 percent, and there are currently about 6.3 million people at risk of infection. The Ebola virus causes severe pains, fever, headaches and in the worst cases, unstoppable bleeding.

"International assistance is crucial at this time to save lives and support the people of West Africa as they struggle to combat one of the world's most lethal and contagious diseases," said John P. Howe III, M.D., President and CEO of Project HOPE.

Health officials worldwide are on alert, fearing the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa could spread to foreign shores. Several countries are quarantining airline passengers from the region who have shown symptoms of the disease, and hospitals have been instructed to monitor patients for any symptoms, particularly nationals or foreign tourists who had been in the outbreak area.

The first reported Ebola-related death in Sierra Leone occurred in late May. Sierra Leone's national Ministry of Health and Sanitation has put measures in place to address the pandemic, and is seeking support from Project HOPE and other international organizations to help contain the disease.

About Project HOPE

Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world's first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now provides medical training and health education, as well as conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 35 countries. Visit our website and follow us on Twitter @projecthopeorg.


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