(Photo:DeMoss Thinking PR)
International relief organization Samaritan's Purse is responding to an Ebola outbreak in Liberia by providing emergency medical supplies and conducting awareness campaigns.
The Christian organization, led by evangelist Franklin Graham, dispatched medical response personnel to various parts of the country after the disease claimed the lives of over 80 people throughout several West African countries last week.
"This is a very serious situation that could become even more critical in the coming days," said Graham in a statement. "Our team in Liberia is committed to doing all we can to share God's love with Liberian people by providing medical support and other relief."
Samaritan's Purse aims to contain the outbreak in Monrovia, the capital city and in Lofa County where seven Ebola deaths have been confirmed out of 14 suspected cases.
Liberia's government has also established a high-level national task force to lead their efforts in the response, naming Samaritan's Purse as a partner along with other agencies, such as the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The current Ebola outbreak is the worst it has ever been in previous decades, according to the Doctors Without Borders organization, with at least 157 cases reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, since late March.
Considered one of the world's deadliest viruses, Ebola causes a hemorrhagic fever that kills up to 90 percent of those infected. It is transmitted to people from wild animals and begins by spreading in the blood and shutting down the immune system, causing high fever and oftentimes accompanied by internal and external bleeding. Currently there is no cure or vaccine for the virus.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia released a statement Sunday calling on people to remain calm in the face of the outbreak.
"The situation has been managed very well by the Ministry of Health working with some of our international partners and we do not believe that one needs to do anything more than take precaution, follow the instructions and advice of the Ministry of Health team," she said, according to AllAfrica.com.
She also asked the media and politicians not to create panic, adding "by talking about things when you don't have the details, you simply make people afraid and that's not good."
However, Mariano Lugli, the Doctors Without Borders coordinator in Guinea, where the majority of deaths have occurred, said the widespread virus was "worrisome," reported CNN.
"We are facing an epidemic of a magnitude never before seen in terms of the distribution of cases in the country," Lugli said in a statement issued by the organization. "This geographical spread is worrisome, because it will greatly complicate the tasks of the organizations working to control the epidemic."
Luigi also noted that previous outbreaks were more geographically contained and occurred in more remote locations.
Ebola was first discovered in Congo in 1976 and officials have not determined how the virus spread into Guinea. However, bats that carry the virus may be the cause as they are eaten as a local delicacy in the country.