Health Highlights: July 16, 2014

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Large Rise in West African Ebola Cases, Deaths: WHO

The number of Ebola cases and deaths in West Africa rose sharply in the past week, according to the World Health Organization.

The number of suspected, probable and conformed cases of the disease in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone was 964 as of Saturday, a 14 percent increase from a week earlier, The New York Times reported.

The number of deaths as of Saturday was 603, about 16 percent higher than a week earlier, the WHO said. About half the deaths have been in Guinea.

"This trend indicates that a high level of transmission of the Ebola virus continues to take place in the community," the WHO said in the update, The Times reported.

"The respective ministries of health are working with WHO and partners to step up outbreak containment measures," the agency noted.

New agencies said that due to the outbreak, Ivory Coast border officials prevented hundreds of Ivorian refugees in Liberia from returning, The Times reported.

There is no known cure for Ebola, and the death rate among infected people is as high as 90 percent.

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Pregnant Workers Get More Protection Under New U.S. Guidelines

New guidelines to protect pregnant employees from workplace discrimination have been issued by the U.S. government's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The first updated guidelines in 30 years say that any form of workplace discrimination or harassment against pregnant employees is illegal, the Associated Press reported.

"Discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions is a prohibited form of sex discrimination," the guidelines state.

"Despite much progress, we continue to see a significant number of charges alleging pregnancy discrimination, and our investigations have revealed the persistence of overt pregnancy discrimination, as well as the emergence of more subtle discriminatory practices," EEOC Chairwoman Jacqueline Berrien said in a statement, the AP reported.

Posted: July 2014


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