2014 West Africa Ebola Outbreak

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When the deadly Ebola outbreak erupted in West Africa this spring, Direct Relief responded – as aggressively and expansively as possible — and continues to do so.

Direct Relief’s ongoing response comprises a series of emergency airlifts of medical resources, including the decisive step of a 747 charter to deliver 100 tons of essential supplies in September — a time of critical need when supply lines into Ebola-hit countries had effectively collapsed.

The Direct Relief shipment is absolutely critical, as we are almost out of our existing stock of gloves and gowns.”

Raphael Frankfurter, Executive Director, Wellbody Alliance

So far, Direct Relief has sent 23 emergency shipments valued at $11.4 million to more than 1,000 hospitals and clinics in Liberia through the country’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, National Drug Service, ELWA HospitalLast Mile Health, and Africare; Guinea through the Ministry of Health; and Sierra Leone through the Medical Research Centre and Wellbody Alliance.

Direct Relief is mobilizing additional shipments of essential supplies to ensure medical responders on the frontlines of the Ebola outbreak have the personal protective gear, medicines, and supplies they need to contain the virus.

These efforts are made possible through the support of thousands of individuals, nearly 50 companies that include Abbott and the Abbott Fund, Ansell, BayerBaxter, BDEli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, J&J,  Teva, Virgin Unite, and Zynga, and foundations that include The Paul Allen Family Foundation, Skoll Global Threats Fund, Humanity United, the Greenbaum Foundation, and Abbvie Foundation.

To keep up to date on the response, read Direct Relief’s blog, and to learn about Direct Relief’s commitment to financial accountability and transparency, read Direct Relief’s donation policy for the Ebola outbreak.

A Direct Relief-chartered Boeing 747 departs John F. Kennedy International with 100 tons of emergency medical assistance for communities gripped by Ebola.


“Unfortunately, we are definitely not at the peak. It’s going to get worse before it gets better… The real question is how much worse will it get?”

Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC

What is Ebola?

Ebola is an infectious and often fatal disease that results in fever and severe internal bleeding. Ebola is highly contagious through infected bodily fluids such as sweat, blood, and saliva, and remains infectious even after death.

What is the rate of survival?

The survival rate of the current outbreak is around 50%. Survival rates have varied from 10% to 75% in past outbreaks. 

What can be done to improve survival rates?

There are no medications effective in curing the virus, but supportive hospital care can significantly increase survival.

What is needed and how can I help?

In additional to other critical supplies, here’s a list of some of the most requested items and their approximate value.

$4 Bag of basic IV saline
$6 Pack of 50 exam gloves
$10 Isolation gown
$20 Box of sterile syringes & needles
$25 Pair of rubber boots
$60 Case of face masks
$1 Protective shoe covers
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