Share this article on:

What Obstetrician–Gynecologists Should Know About Ebola: A Perspective From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Jamieson, Denise J. MD, MPH; Uyeki, Timothy M. MD, MPH; Callaghan, William M. MD, MPH; Meaney-Delman, Dana MD, MPH; Rasmussen, Sonja A. MD, MS

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000533
Contents: Current Commentary

West Africa is currently in the midst of the largest Ebola outbreak in history. Although there have been no Ebola virus disease cases identified in the United States, two U.S. health care workers with Ebola virus disease were medically evacuated from Liberia to the United States in early August 2014. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been working closely with other U.S. government agencies and international and nongovernmental partners for several months to respond to this global crisis. Limited evidence suggests that pregnant women are at increased risk for severe illness and death when infected with Ebola virus, but there is no evidence to suggest that pregnant women are more susceptible to Ebola virus disease. In addition, pregnant women with Ebola virus disease appear to be at an increased risk for spontaneous abortion and pregnancy-associated hemorrhage. Neonates born to mothers with Ebola virus disease have not survived. Although it is very unlikely that obstetrician–gynecologists (ob-gyns) in the United States will diagnose or treat a patient with Ebola virus disease, it is important that all health care providers are prepared to evaluate and care for these patients. Specifically, U.S. health care providers, including ob-gyns, should ask patients about recent travel and should know the signs and symptoms of Ebola virus disease and what to do if assessing a patient with compatible illness. This article provides general background information on Ebola and specifically addresses what is known about Ebola virus disease in pregnancy and the implications for practicing ob-gyns in the United States.

Obstetrician–gynecologists should understand Ebola virus disease characteristics, ask patients about recent West Africa travel, and know what to do if assessing a patient with compatible illness.

Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, and the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Corresponding author: Denise J. Jamieson, MD, MPH, Women's Health and Fertility Branch, Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway NE, MS-F74, Atlanta, GA 30341; e-mail: djj0@cdc.gov.

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Financial Disclosure The authors did not report any potential conflicts of interest.

© 2014 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.