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Breaking the stigma associated with dementia

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Vanderhoof and Fort St. James residents living with dementia are being encouraged to go public in an effort to change hearts and tackle the ongoing discrimination they experience in their day-to-day lives.

As per a Jan. 6 release by the Alzheimer Society of B.C., residents with dementia can step forward with their personal stories in the Alzheimer’s Society’s nation-wide campaign, I live with dementia.

“Spurred by alarming research indicating that one in four Canadians would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia, the campaign gives a voice to Canadians living with dementia who are frustrated by the constant assumptions and misinformation associated with the disease,” as written in the media release.

“Unless you have experienced it firsthand, it can be difficult to appreciate the damage stigma can do to individuals and families facing dementia,” said Laurie DeCroos, support and education co-ordinator for the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s north interior, Skeena and Peace region resource centres.

She explained further that often negative feelings, attitudes and stereotypes surrounding dementia can dissuade people from seeking help and,”discourage others from lending their support.”

By providing this platform, the society aims to aid Canadians to share their stories, so that feelings of empathy and compassion can be cultivated and stigma can be broken down.

Since 2018, more than 65 Canadians with dementia including caregivers, have become spokespeople in the campaign aimed at taking a stand against the stigma associated with the disease.

To read their stories and find out further information, visit ilivewithdementia.ca. Visitors to the site can also connect with the regional Alzheimer Society resource centre for help and support.

More than half a million Canadians are living with dementia today and in the next 12 years, nearly a million Canadians will be living with dementia, stated the release


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Health officials declare syphilis outbreak in Nova Scotia – The Globe and Mail

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Nova Scotia is declaring a provincial outbreak of syphilis after seeing a jump in the number of cases last year.

Public health officials said today there were 82 cases recorded in 2019, compared with 50 in 2018 and 38 in 2017.

Twenty per cent of the cases last year were women, up from 10 per cent the year before.

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The bacterial illness is a sexually transmitted infection and can be contracted through unprotected anal, oral or vaginal sex.

Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed, the deputy medical officer, says safer sex practices and getting tested for syphilis can help control the numbers of infections.

The illness is treatable with antibiotics, but later stages of syphilis can cause serious impacts to the brain, heart and other organs, and can even lead to death.

The last syphilis outbreak in the province was declared in the Halifax area in 2009, hitting a peak in 2013 with 84 cases that year.

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Public health officials declare syphilis outbreak in Nova Scotia

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Public health officials have declared a provincial outbreak of syphilis after an increase in cases in 2019, according to a statement released by the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) on Monday.

Syphilis is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) contracted through unprotected anal, oral or vaginal sex. It can cause serious and permanent damage to the body if untreated.

According to the NSHA, preliminary data recorded 82 cases in Nova Scotia in 2019. That compares to approximately 50 cases in 2018 and 38 cases in 2017. The cases to date have been diagnosed in people ages 20 to 65 across the province.

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NSHA also stated there appeared to be an increasing proportion of cases among women (20 per cent) in 2019, compared to 10 per cent in 2018 and five per cent in 2017.

“Safer sex practices and getting tested for syphilis can help decrease the number of syphilis cases we are seeing in Nova Scotia currently,” Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed, Nova Scotia’s deputy medical officer of health, said in a media release. “Knowing your status for sexually transmitted infections, including syphilis, is really important for our health and also the health of others.”

Symptoms of syphilis may first appear 10 to 90 days after a person becomes infected, with the average period of time being 21 days. While some people may not experience any symptoms, syphilis can produce different symptoms at each stage of infection, including:

  • an open sore at the point of infection (genital area, anus, mouth or lips)
  • flu-like illness
  • muscle aches and pains
  • fatigue
  • a rash on the chest, back, palms of hands and bottoms of feet

Syphilis is treatable with antibiotics. Later stages of syphilis can cause serious impact on the brain, heart and other organs, or even death.

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Safe sex practices, including the use of condoms and oral dams for each sexual interaction, can help prevent syphilis. Unprotected sexual contact increases the risk of contracting syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections.

In order to prevent congenital syphilis, which is an infection in unborn babies or newborns that can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or birth defects, NSHA said the province’s public health and reproductive care program recommends that doctors now test for syphilis twice during pregnancy.

“This second test, completed at 24 to 28 weeks, will complement the routine syphilis screening that takes place early in pregnancy,” NSHA stated.

To date, there have been no reported cases of congenital syphilis in Nova Scotia.

A syphilis outbreak was declared in the Halifax area in 2009, hitting a peak in 2013 with 84 cases that year. The Public Health Agency of Canada has put a syphilis outbreak investigation co-ordination committee in place to inform surveillance and outbreak control measures across the country, which may inform additional protection measures and recommendations.

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For now, Watson-Creed said, it’s most important that people know the signs and symptoms of syphilis, use protection for sexual activity and get tested for syphilis and other STIs if they are at risk.

“Being informed, taking action and protecting yourself are the best steps right now,” he said.

Nova Scotians can also call 811 for non-emergency health advice from a registered nurse.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Human-to-human transmission confirmed in China coronavirus – CNBC

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A man leaves the Wuhan Medical Treatment Centre, where a man who died from a respiratory illness was confined, in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, on January 12, 2020.

Noel Celis | AFP | Getty Images

The head of a Chinese government expert team said Monday that human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in an outbreak of a new coronavirus, a development that raises the possibility that it could spread more quickly and widely.

Team leader Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert, said two people in Guangdong province in southern China caught the virus from family members, state media said. Some medical workers have also tested positive for the virus, the English-language China Daily newspaper reported.

The late-night announcement capped a day in which authorities announced a sharp uptick in the number of confirmed cases to more than 200, and China’s leader called on the government to take every possible step to combat the outbreak.

“The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan and other places must be taken seriously,” President Xi Jinping said in his first public statement on the crisis. “Party committees, governments and relevant departments at all levels should put people’s lives and health first.”

Xi’s remarks were reported by state broadcaster CCTV on its main 7 p.m. evening news broadcast.

In Geneva, the World Health Organization announced it would convene an Emergency Committee meeting on Wednesday to determine whether the outbreak warrants being declared a global health crisis.

Such declarations are typically made for epidemics of severe diseases that threaten to cross borders and require an internationally coordinated response. Previous global emergencies have been declared for crises including the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Congo, the emergence of Zika virus in the Americas in 2016 and the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014.

The spread of the viral pneumonia comes as the country enters its busiest travel period, when millions board trains and planes for the Lunar New Year holidays. The outbreak is believed to have started late last month when people picked it up at a fresh food market in Wuhan, a city in central China.

Wuhan health authorities said Monday an additional 136 cases have been confirmed in the city, raising the total to 198. Three have died.

Authorities elsewhere also announced cases in other Chinese cities for the first time.

Five individuals in Beijing and 14 in Guangdong have also been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, CCTV reported Monday evening. A total of seven suspected cases have been found in other parts of the country, including in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in the southwest and in Shanghai.

Zhong said the two people in Guangdong had not been to Wuhan but fell ill after family members had returned from the city, the China Daily said.

The outbreak has put other countries on alert as millions of Chinese travel for Lunar New Year. Authorities in Thailand and in Japan have already identified at least three cases, all involving recent travel from China.

South Korea reported its first case Monday, when a 35-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan tested positive for the new coronavirus one day after arriving at Seoul’s Incheon airport. The woman has been isolated at a state-run hospital in Incheon city, just west of Seoul, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.

At least a half-dozen countries in Asia and three U.S. airports have started screening incoming airline passengers from central China.

Videos posted online show people in protective suits checking one-by-one the temperatures of plane passengers arriving in Macao from Wuhan. A man surnamed Yang who works for the Macao Health Bureau confirmed over the phone that such checks are taking place in the southern Chinese region.

Canada’s Chief Medical officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said additional signage will be in place in the coming days at airports in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. There will also be additional screening questions at electronic kiosks at customs asking people if they have traveled to areas where coronavirus is and if they have flu like symptoms.

“The Chinese lunar year is coming so out of abundance precaution that’s why we are putting out additional information for travelers,” Tam said.

Many of the initial cases of the coronavirus were linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, which was closed as authorities investigated.

Since hundreds of people who came into close contact with diagnosed patients have not gotten sick, the municipal health commission maintains that the virus is not easily transmitted between humans.

China’s National Health Commission said experts have judged the current outbreak to be “preventable and controllable.”

“However, the source of the new type of coronavirus has not been found, we do not fully understand how the virus is transmitted, and changes in the virus still need to be closely monitored,” the commission said in a statement Sunday.

Coronaviruses cause diseases ranging from the common cold to SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. SARS first infected people in southern China in late 2002 and spread to more than two dozen countries, killing nearly 800. The Chinese government initially tried to conceal the severity of the SARS epidemic, but its cover-up was exposed by a high-ranking physician.

“In the early days of SARS, reports were delayed and covered up,” said an editorial in the nationalistic Global Times. “That kind of thing must not happen again in China.”

“We have made great strides in medicine, social affairs management and public opinion since 2003,” the editorial said.

Xi instructed government departments Monday to promptly release information on the virus and deepen international cooperation.

China has notified and maintained close communication with the World Health Organization and other relevant countries and regions, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular news briefing.

Wuhan has also adopted measures to control the flow of people leaving the city, Geng said.

The virus causing the current outbreak is different from those previously identified, Chinese scientists said earlier this month. Initial symptoms of the novel coronavirus include fever, cough, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath.

On the Weibo social media platform, which is widely used in China, people posted prevention advice such as wearing masks and washing hands. State broadcaster CCTV recommended staying warm, increasing physical activity, eating lightly and avoiding crowded places. Some people said they had canceled their travel plans and were staying home for Lunar New Year.

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