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Erie Organization Sending Aid as Ebola Death Toll Climbs

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One country has been severely affected by the Ebola outbreak. As the death toll climbs and supplies fall short, a local human services organization, "Community of Caring," is sending aid.

"It's worse than I had feared, Ebola is spreading widely throughout much of Liberia," said CDC Director Tim Frieden on Wednesday, from Monrovia, Liberia's capital.

With much of the country's borders closed, basic goods like bleach, gloves, and buckets are now in short supply in Liberia, the West African country hardest hit with the Ebola epidemic.

"Community of Caring" plans to ship a 20-foot truck filled with rubber gloves, garbage bags, face masks, bleach to Monrovia's one major hospital.  Bleach dissolves the virus's structure, while protective materials prevent the spread of body fluids, which is how Ebola is transmitted.
[Donations are accepted at 245 E. 8th Street, 24-hours a day.]


"It's (supplies) getting more expensive of course. Now with many of the borders being closed, a lot of things aren't even coming in," said Dr. Grace Kennedy, executive director of the "Community of Caring." "We do have a contact with the Liberian government who has promised to expedite the container when it arrives," Kennedy said.

But they still need more donations - either in supplies or in check form - to help fill and ship the truck. Community of Caring plans to send the truck off from Erie on Tuesday, Sept 2.

The CDC says the effort to stop the Ebola outbreak needs to be a global one.

"The sooner the world comes together to help Liberia and Liberians and West Africans to stop it, the safer we'll all be," Frieden said. "Because every day this outbreak goes on, it increases the risk for another export to another country."

More than 2,600 people have contracted Ebola in this outbreak, with 1,400 of those cases fatal. About half of those deaths come from Liberia.

Symptoms typically start off with headache and joint and back pain, accompanied with a sudden fever. Then symptoms progress to vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes organ damage, internal bleeding, and external bleeding.

The death rate of Ebola is 62 to 65 percent with treatment.

"I have received calls from Liberia since it began and the people are so troubled with the situation. The food has now become scarce and of course, there are not sufficient medical supplies," said Mother Mary Beth Kennedy of "Community of Caring." Mother Kennedy is 88 years old and spearheaded this donation effort.

In the CDC's assessment of the situation, Frieden expects the outbreak will "get worse before it gets better."

"It is spreading and we don't know how far it will spread. We can't predict that," Mother Kennedy said. "So we should be doing everything we can to help the other people first, and then just for self-preservation. It would be wise for us to be taking precaution," she said.
Donations can be made to "Community of Caring" at 245 East 8th Street, 24 hours a day.

The organization's other location, 261 E. 21st Street, is open from 9am-5pm. 

The list of items needed include:
- Garbage bags
- Surgical protective clothing, like gowns, scrubs, and coveralls
- Face shields and goggles
- Hair and head coverings
- Shoe covers and rubber boots
- Bleach
- Rubber gloves
- Metal buckets
- Mops
- Hand sanitizers



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