— -- Ebola is a deadly virus with no known cure, so when health workers treat patients in West Africa, they suit up in layers upon layers of protective gear to minimize their risk.
The medical gear is vital for health workers because they run the greatest risk for contracting the disease. The World Health Organization reported this week that at least 377 health care workers have been infected by Ebola since the outbreak began in March. Of those infected, 216 have died.
Since the virus is spread through bodily fluids, health care workers have to take special care when treating patients to ensure they are not exposed to vomit, urine, blood or other bodily fluids.
Earlier this week, ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser was able show firsthand what it takes to get inside an Ebola ward after donning the protective equipment.
Here's a list of the many layers needed for health care workers to protect themselves.
"Not a speck of skin is exposed to the air," Dr. Besser wrote in a piece for ABC News. "After just five minutes in this cocoon, I am saturated in sweat."
After leaving the ward, health workers aren't in the clear. To prevent infection, each layer of protective gear is disinfected one by one. After each layer is removed, the health worker is hosed down with bleach.
ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Richard Besser contributed to this report.