Canada's federal government has committed more than $1.2 million to fight an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.

"In a situation like the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, it is of critical importance to implement measures to end the chain of transmission," said International Development Minister Christian Paradis in a statement announcing Canada's $1,285,000 contribution to international efforts to control the disease.

The outbreak of a new strain of the Ebola virus has killed close to 140 people in Guinea since February.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird noted in a statement that biological threats do not recognize borders and are therefore a global problem.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a severe illness that kills to 90 per cent of those it infects. There is no known cure.

Symptoms start with chills, low-back pain, fatigue, diarrhea and headaches, and may progress to bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose, as well as the mouth and rectum.

The disease is transmitted between humans through contact with organs, blood, secretions, or other bodily fluids.

The new Canadian funding will mostly go toward:

  • Humanitarian programs to control the spread of the virus and reduce mortality, via the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada's (DFATD) International Humanitarian Assistance Program and a partnership with the Canadian Red Cross.
  • Support for the World Health Organization's work on the outbreak.

The WHO had requested support from member countries to help it deal with the recent outbreak in Guinea.