Ebola Today: Outbreak May Kill 1 in 7 Pregnant Women in West Africa

People under quarantine are seen on November 8, 2014, in the village of Kigbale, near Port Loko. The biggest chiefdome in Port Loko province, has 160 000 people and has been severelly hit by the Ebola. AFP PHOTO/ FRANCISCO LEONGFRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images
People under quarantine are seen on November 8, 2014, in the village of Kigbale, near Port Loko. The biggest chiefdome in Port Loko province, has 160 000 people and has been severelly hit by the Ebola. AFP PHOTO/ FRANCISCO LEONGFRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images –AFP/Getty Images

6:00 p.m. Outbreak could indirectly kill pregnant women. Pregnant women in Ebola-stricken countries are at risk due to overwhelmed hospital services, fear, and stigma around the outbreak in West Africa. One in seven women in Ebola-stricken countries could die from pregnancy or childbirth, The Guardian reports. Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea represented some of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world before the Ebola outbreak. Conditions had been improving until the outbreak began. Now hospitals are under high pressure, and pregnant women are afraid to receive care, due to the fear and stigma surrounding the disease. The UN Population Fund predicts that 800,000 women across the three countries will give birth in the next year, and 120,000 of those women will likely face complications if they do not seek medical help. It is predicted that if women continue to avoid hospital care the maternal mortality rate could rise 20-fold to 15 percent. 10:30 a.m. The United States is officially Ebola-free. Dr. Craig Spencer, the New York City-based physician who contracted Ebola while treating patients with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, was dismissed from Bellevue Hospital Tuesday morning. He is officially Ebola-free, and while hundreds of Americans remain under observation, this places the United States back on the list of countries without Ebola cases.

Dr. Craig Spencer, center, who was the first Ebola patient in New York City, is escorted by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to a news conference at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. Spencer, a Doctors Without Borders physician who was declared free of Ebola, said he was living proof that early detection and isolation can stop the spread of the deadly virus, and called for a better focus at the center of the outbreak in West Africa. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) —AP

“Dr. Spencer did everything right,’’ said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in a press conference Tuesday outside of Bellevue Hospital. “Dr. Spencer was an example to us all. He was cool and calm and focused throughout.’’

Dr. Laura Evans, the physician in charge of Dr. Spencer’s care, said when he was brought into the hospital she thought it was another drill, but this was the real thing. “We were ready though,’’ said Dr. Evans.

“[Dr. Spencer’s] work in West Africa was not only for the people of Guinea, it was for all of us,’’ said Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, commissioner of the New York City Department of Public Health. “We hope we won’t see another case of Ebola, but we will be vigilant in our response and also in the battle against stigma, which is another unfortunate side effect of Ebola.’’ “My treatment and recovery is an example of the effectiveness of the protocols in place for health care workers returning from West Africa,’’ said Dr. Spencer. “While my case has garnered international attention, it’s importat to remember that my infection represents just one of the thousands affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa…Please join me in turning our attention back to West Africa and ensuring that other medical workers and volunteers do not face stigma when they return home.’’


Addressing stigma was a central message from NYC officials during the press conference. Mayor de Blasio addressed the fact that some New Yorkers, specifically health care workers, have been stigmatized and discriminated against because of misinformation about the Ebola outbreak. “It’s our job as New Yorkers to confront that. We have had a few New yorkers treated badly, and you never discriminate against someone who is helping others. There is no cause foranyone to be treated with anything but respect who is serving someone in need.’’

6:00 a.m. Precaution after covering Ebola. CBS News reporter Lara Logan is being quarantined in a South Africa hotel after visiting a hospital treating Ebola patients in Liberia for a ‘‘60 Minutes’’ report.

CBS said Logan’s 21-day self-quarantine ends Friday. Neither Logan nor the four other CBS employees in South Africa have shown any sign of the virus, according to an Associated Press report.

The latest numbers:

Number of cases worldwide in the current outbreak: 13,042 (as of Nov. 5)

Number of deaths: 4,818 (as of Nov. 5)

Countries currently affected by Ebola: Mali, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States of America.

Countries where the outbreak has ended: Nigeria (Oct. 19), Senegal (Oct. 17)

And here’s your daily reminder not to panic:

The likelihood of contracting Ebola in Massachusetts remains very low, according to the state’s public health officials. You have to be in direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids while they are contagious (displaying symptoms of Ebola). Even if someone has been exposed, symptoms may appear in as little as two days, and in as many as 21 days, after exposure. The CDC says the average is 8 to 10 days.


Ebola symptoms:

– Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)

– Severe headache

– Muscle pain

– Weakness

– Diarrhea

– Vomiting

– Abdominal (stomach) pain

– Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Need more details? Here’s an MGH physician dropping some knowledge for you.

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