10/06/2014 02:26 EDT | Updated 12/06/2014 05:59 EST

Ebola: Canada sends 1st shipment of protective gear to Sierra Leone

The Canadian government is shipping 128,000 face shields to Sierra Leone to help frontline healthcare workers in the West African country combat an outbreak of the Ebola virus.
The Public Health Agency of Canada announced Monday that a Hercules Aircraft left Trenton, Ontario at 8 a.m. ET for Sierra Leone with Canada's first shipment of "personal protective equipment" (PPE).

The shipment is a response to a request from the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) for 300,000 face shields.

"The next shipment of face shields will be sent within the next week," said a news release from the agency.

"More personal protective equipment [other than face shields] will be sent...both by air and sea."

The virus that causes Ebola is not airborne and can only be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids — blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen — of an infected person who is showing symptoms.

It has killed more than 3,400 people since it began in West Africa in December and has now begun spreading faster, infecting almost 7,500 people so far.