BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhua/Sun) -- China will send disease control experts to three Ebola-affected West African nations to assist the fight against the deadly virus, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) said Saturday.

NHFPC spokesman Mao Qun'an said three expert teams will go to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to provide technical assistance in prevention and control of Ebola virus.

Each team will be composed of one epidemiologist and two specialists in disinfection and protection, who are from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) and other institutions, said Wang Yu, head of China CDC.

It is the first time that China offers assistance to foreign countries in response to a public health emergency, Wang said.

Wang said the West African nations, facing severe shortage of medicines and disease prevention knowledge, are in urgent need of material support and expertise as the epidemic has yet been controlled.

Chinese experts will train local medical workers on personal protection, disinfection and biological safety. They will also assist the distribution of China's materials and help Chinese nationals in those countries to strengthen disease prevention and control.

Mao said the NHFPC had worked with the ministries of commerce and foreign affairs, and the Civil Aviation Administration of China to purchase medicines, disinfection materials and protective devices.

The materials will be flown to the African countries on Sunday.

The virus has claimed nearly 1,000 lives in West Africa, most of whom were in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The World Health Organization on Friday warned that the disease was now a "public health emergency of international concern" and called for a coordinated international response to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola.