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New West study aims for earlier diagnoses of painful period condition – The Record (New Westminster)

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The New Westminster school district is yet again leading the way to destigmatize menstruation.

Starting in January, 100 New Westminster Secondary School students will learn, as part of a study, about a medical condition that causes painful periods.

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Researchers hope the pilot program will improve students’ knowledge and increase early diagnoses of the condition.

Endometriosis causes tissue normally found inside the uterus to grow outside the uterus, such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining the pelvis. This can cause little to no symptoms, or it can cause debilitating pain in the pelvic area during menstruation.

But Catherine Allaire, medical director of the Centre for Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis at B.C. Women’s Hospital, said there’s a serious gap in diagnoses of endometriosis. Allaire said it’s estimated to take eight years from the start of symptoms to reach a diagnosis.

Part of the issue is that the typical diagnosis requires a laparoscopy, a surgical procedure – though Allaire said there’s a movement in Canada and elsewhere toward treating the symptoms without necessarily requiring the procedure.

But another part of the issue, Allaire said, is the lack of popular knowledge about the issue and the general discomfort of Canadians in discussing menstruation – despite the fact that it affects roughly 10% of women and girls of reproductive age.

“If you never talk about something, you don’t know what’s abnormal,” Allaire said. “It’s 50% of the world that menstruates, so I’m not sure why it’s still such a difficult thing to discuss or talk about as if it’s some kind of dirty, hidden thing.”

But if endometriosis affects so many people, why the lack of public knowledge and discussion? In large part, it’s a mix of historical downplaying of women’s pain and inadequate research on and funding for women’s sexual health, Allaire said.

“It’s just a systemic issue,” she said. “There’s a huge gender bias in terms of where research money is going. It’s taken a long time to get to this, but it’s finally happening.”

Allaire’s pilot program is building on a 2017 study in New Zealand that showed a similar program led to more women and girls seeking medical help for the condition at a younger age.

“We thought this would be something worthwhile to introduce into high schools in British Columbia,” Allaire said.

“At the time we were looking for a partner, [the New West school district] announced that they would be offering free menstrual products in the high school. … We thought, ‘Wow, there’s a school board that’s open-minded and willing to discuss menstruation.”

The New West school district was the first in B.C. to approve paying for free menstrual product dispensers in their schools.

In the pilot, half of the 100 boys and girls will take a one-hour course on endometriosis. They will take questionnaires, including a six-week follow-up, to determine retention of the knowledge. After that, the other half will take the questionnaire before taking the course to compare results.

Allaire said the program is expected to bring results by April, and potentially be published by the summer, depending on how the publication process goes.

“The goal is to basically arm patients and advocates and school educators and stuff with data that supports such an educational intervention and then advocate for other school boards and even ministries of education … about putting this as a standard in the curriculum,” Allaire said.

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COVID-19 outbreak: Here's what's happening around the world Friday – CBC.ca

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The world prepared for a coronavirus pandemic on Friday as hopes the disease could be contained to China vanished and investors dumped equities in expectation of a global recession.

Asian stock markets plunged further Friday amid spreading virus fears, deepening an global rout after Wall Street endured its biggest one-day drop in nine years.

Tokyo’s benchmark plummeted by an unusually wide margin of 3.7 per cent and Seoul and Sydney dropped by more than three per cent; Hong Kong and Shanghai saw losses of over 2.5 per cent. Oil prices slumped on expectations industrial activity and demand might contract.

Investors had been confident the disease that emerged in China in December might be under control. But outbreaks in Italy, South Korea and Iran have fuelled fears the virus is turning into a global threat that might derail trade and industry.

The global count of those infected exceeds 83,000, with China still by far the hardest-hit country. But South Korea has surged past 2,000 cases, and other countries have climbing caseloads and deaths. Iran, with 26 deaths and more than 250 cases, has the most in the Middle East.

Mainland China — where the virus originated late last year — reported 327 new cases on Friday, the lowest since Jan. 23, taking its total cases to more than 78,800 with almost 2,800 deaths.

“This virus has pandemic potential,” World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva on Thursday. “This is not a time for fear. This is a time for taking action to prevent infection and save lives now.”

1st cases for Nigeria, New Zealand

Nigeria’s health authorities reported the country’s first case of the new coronavirus in Lagos, the first confirmed appearance of the disease in sub-Saharan Africa. Cases of the virus were already confirmed in Egypt and Algeria in north Africa.

The Commissioner for Health for Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, said Friday that an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on Feb. 25 from Milan on a business trip fell ill the next day.

Commissioner Akin Abayomi said the man was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing. The patient was clinically stable with no serious symptoms and was being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.

He said officials were working to identify all of the man’s contacts since he arrived in Nigeria.

WATCH: Infectious disease doctor explains what’s happening with COVID-19

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch looks at the implications of COVID-19’s global reach and asymptomatic transmission of the disease. 2:18

New Zealand health officials also said on Friday that the country had its first case, found in a person in their 60s who recently returned from Iran.

Health officials said the results of a test came through positive on Friday afternoon. The person was being treated at the Auckland City Hospital and the person’s household members had also been isolated as a precaution.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health said in a statement it was confident the public health risk from the infection was being well managed.

Here’s what’s happening in South Korea

South Korea reported 256 additional cases Friday, raising its total to 2,022, with most occurring in the region around the city of Daegu. Many cases there have connections to a church and health workers are testing thousands of its members.

Thirteen people have died.

WATCH: South Korea launches roadside tests

Amid soaring demand for virus testing, Goyang, South Korea, is reducing wait times with a roadside test. 0:25

A Hyundai worker tested positive for the virus on Friday, leading to a suspension of production at one the automaker’s factories in the southeastern city of Ulsan

The country’s National Assembly has passed a law strengthening the punishment for those violating self-isolation, more than tripling the fine and adding the possibility of a year in prison.

The military also called off joint drills planned with U.S. troops.

The outbreak has prompted South Korean boy band BTS to cancel its scheduled April concerts in Seoul, according to its music label, Big Hit Entertainment.

BTS had scheduled a “Map of the Soul” tour for April 11-12 and 18-19 at Seoul’s Olympic Stadium.

Here’s what’s happening in Japan

Japan’s schools prepared to close for almost a month, in a move that would send nearly 13 million children home and leave few people untouched by the virus in the world’s third-biggest economy.

Sporting events and concerts in Japan have already been cancelled, and Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea said, too, they would close until mid-March. The closure of Disney resorts in Japan will last through March 15, their Japanese operator, Oriental Land Co., said Friday. Disney parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai remain closed.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had called for all schools to close until late March, though the decisions to do so were being made locally.

“The most important thing is to prevent infections, so there aren’t many other options,” said Norinobu Sawada, vice principal of Koizumi primary school.

Here’s what’s happening in Canada

Quebec’s first presumptive case of the coronavirus was detected in a woman who recently returned from a trip to Iran, the provincial health minister said Thursday evening. 

The woman took a plane from Iran to Qatar before arriving at the Montreal airport on Monday, Health Minister Danielle McCann said at an impromptu news conference.

WATCH: How Canada is preparing for a coronavirus outbreak

Canadian public health officials detailed plans for preparations for a coronavirus outbreak here. 1:52

Earlier, Ontario reported a sixth case of COVID-19 on Thursday. The other seven cases in the country are in British Columbia.

Canada’s public health agency is taking stock of the need for personal protective equipment and other supplies to make sure there are enough to go around in case of a pandemic.

The virus, which does not yet have a cure or a vaccine, keeps spreading to new places around the world.  Read on for a look at what’s happening in some of the countries dealing with the most cases of the novel coronavirus.

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Coronavirus outbreak: All the latest updates – Al Jazeera English

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Hopes that the coronavirus would be contained to China have vanished as the first case in sub-Saharan Africa was announced in Nigeria and stock markets took a pounding amid fears of a global recession.

In China – the epicentre of the deadly disease – the National Health Commission reported on Friday at least 44 new coronavirus deaths, bringing to 2,788 the number of fatalities nationwide.

Coronavirus has killed more than 2,800 people and infected about 83,000 worldwide.

More:

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, February 28

I’ll be handing over this page shortly to my colleague Usaid Siddiqui in Doha.

Here’s a quick summary of the latest developments:

Nigeria becomes the first sub-Saharan country to confirm a coronavirus case, while several Asian European countries and New Zealand also confirm their first infections.

Meanwhile,it’s becoming increasingly clear the virus will take a large toll on the global economy, as the markets have their worst week since 2008.

06:15 GMT – Kyrgyzstan resident in Japan tested positive for virus

A Kyrgyz citizen staying in Japan has tested positive for coronavirus and will be hospitalised there until full recovery, Kyrgyz deputy foreign minister Nurlan Abdrakhmanov said.

The man was one of the crew of the Diamond Princess cruise ship berthed in Japan’s port of Yokohama. Kyrgyzstan has reported no coronavuris cases on its own territory.

06:05 GMT – New Zealand reports first virus patient; case linked to Iran

New Zealand health officials said the country had its first coronavirus case, a person in their 60s who recently returned from Iran.

The person was being treated at the Auckland City Hospital and members of their household had also been isolated as a precaution.

Authorities said the patient arrived on an Emirates flight that landed in Auckland on Wednesday. They said anybody on the flight who had any concerns should contact health experts.

05:35 GMT – Stock markets take a pounding worldwide

California reports first ‘unknown’ coronavirus case

Stock markets around the world have plummeted as it has become increasingly clear the virus will take a huge toll on the global economy.

Stock markets in Asia plunged again in opening trade on Friday morning, tracking huge losses in the United States and Europe.The Dow shed nearly 1,200 points, or 4.4 percent, on Thursday, taking its losses for the week to more than 11 percent.

“There was more coronavirus carnage on the markets,” Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said.”One of the worst weeks in recent memory and terrifyingly, it’s not over yet. Friday is a tricky proposition.”

Share prices were on track for the worst week since the global financial crisis in 2008.

05:15 GMT – Coronavirus fear touches off a global run on face masks

Fear of the spreading coronavirus has led to a global run on sales of face masks despite medical experts’ advice that most people who aren’t sick don’t need to wear them.

Many businesses are sold out, while others are limiting how many a customer can buy. Amazon is policing its site, trying to make sure sellers don’t gouge panicked buyers.

Ordinary people trying to protect themselves from the outbreak are not the only ones encountering shortages. Some health care professionals are seeing them as well.

05:10 GMT – Virus detected in sub-Saharan Africa, global stocks tank

Nigeria reported the first new coronavirus case in sub-Saharan Africa on Friday, as global stock markets tanked on deepening fears of a pandemic and the World Health Organization warned against the “fatal mistake” of complacency.

On Friday, Nigeria reported its first case: an Italian man who returned to densely populated Lagos early this week. Cases had previously been reported in Egypt and Algeria, but not in the sub-Saharan region.

The low number of cases across Africa, which has close economic ties with China, has puzzled health specialists and raised questions about authorities’ capabilities to detect the virus.

Commissioner Akin Abayomi said the man was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing. The patient was clinically stable with no serious symptoms and was being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.

03:58 GMT – Lithuania confirms first case of coronavirus

Lithuania’s government reported the country’s first confirmed case of coronavirus in a woman who returned this week from a visit to Italy’s northern city of Verona.

Italy is the European nation worst hit by the virus, with its death toll at 17, while the numbers of those testing positive for the illness increased by more than 200, to 350.

In a statement, the Lithuanian government said the stricken woman had been isolated in hospital in the northern town of Siauliai.She has been under observation since and is showing only slight symptoms.

The woman, aged 39, was attending a conference with colleagues in Italy before flying to the southern city of Kaunas, Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga said.

03:40 GMT – K-pop group BTS cancel concerts over coronavirus scare

K-pop megastars BTS on Friday cancelled four Seoul concerts due in April as the number of novel coronavirus cases in South Korea passed 2,000.

The seven-piece boy band – currently one of the biggest acts in the world – had scheduled four gigs at the capital’s Olympic Stadium to promote their new album, Map of the Soul: 7.

More than 200,000 fans were expected to attend, their agency Big Hit Entertainment said in a statement, with “a number of global production companies and a large group of expert international crew” also involved.

03:30 GMT – New Zealand limits entry of travellers from Iran

New Zealand said on Friday that it was placing temporary restrictions on incoming travellers from Iran as a precautionary measure to protect against the coronavirus outbreak.

“This means people will not be able to travel from Iran to New Zealand and anyone who has been in Iran in the last 14 days will need to self-isolate,” Health Minister David Clark said in a statement.

The death toll in Iran from coronavirus had risen to 26, by far the highest number outside China.

01:56 GMT – Tokyo Disneyland to close through mid-March on coronavirus concerns

Tokyo Disneyland will be closed starting on Saturday through to March 15 amid an outbreak of coronavirus infections in Japan, operator Oriental Land Co Ltd said on Friday.

Both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea will be affected, the company said.

Is the spread of coronavirus out of control?

The move comes after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for all schools to close to stop the coronavirus from spreading. The government has also urged that big gatherings and sports events be scrapped or curtailed for two weeks.

01:01 GMT – South Korea reports 256 new coronavirus cases, total 2,022 – KCDC

South Korea reported 256 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total number of infected in the country to 2,022, the Korea Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention said.

Of the new cases, 182 were in the southeastern city of Daegu, the location of a church at the centre of South Korea’s outbreak, the KCDC said in a statement.

The death toll from the virus stood at 13, unchanged from the day earlier.

The coronavirus, which originated in China, has rapidly spread to more than 40 other countries and territories.

A worker disinfects journalists visiting the Mengniu dairy factory in Beijing on Thursday [Ng Han Guan/AP]

00:02 GMT – Coronavirus risk to Americans low, but can change: US health secretary

The risk to American people from coronavirus is low, but that could change, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Thursday.

“We have really been able to keep the risk to the Americans low right now so that everyday Americans don’t need to be worried, but that can change and that’s why it’s important for all of us to prepare,” Azar said at a White House event with President Donald Trump.

23:48 GMT – Thursday – US grants sanctions waiver for humanitarian trade to Iran

The US on Thursday granted a licence to allow for certain humanitarian trade transactions with Iran’s sanctioned central bank, a move it said was in step with the formalisation of a Swiss humanitarian trade channel.

The newly created channel, which the US Treasury Department said became fully operational on Thursday as it granted the licence, would allow for companies to send food, medicine and other critical supplies to Iran.

This comes as Iran is grappling with a rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases which have already killed at least two dozen people.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus from our bureau in Kuala Lumpur.

Click here to read updates from Thursday, February 27.

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Coronavirus in California: What You Need to Know – The New York Times

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California officials said this week that they had bolstered efforts to confront the growing threat of the coronavirus, declaring that they were prepared and pursuing aggressive measures to thwart its spread.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Thursday that the state had pushed for improved and expanded testing, urging federal officials to alter a testing protocol that he considered “inadequate” to address the situation California faces. He also said officials were actively monitoring people who might have come into contact with the pathogen.

California has had more coronavirus cases than any other state and has also been the nucleus of quarantine efforts in the United States. The sense of concern became more heightened after officials confirmed what is believed to be the first documented case of community transmission, in Solano County.

The governor sought to strike a delicate note by quelling fears over the virus while acknowledging the seriousness of the situation. He told residents that the overall number of cases remained low and that the state government was well positioned to keep it that way.

“We have been in constant contact with federal agencies,” Mr. Newsom, a Democrat, said in a news conference on Thursday. “We have history and expertise in this space. We are not overreacting, but nor are we underreacting to the understandable anxiety that many people have as it relates to this novel virus.”

Mr. Newsom has resisted declaring a state of emergency, a step taken by some local officials largely in an effort to muster public health resources. But there are worries about the economic fallout, with events having already been changed or canceled. Both Facebook and Microsoft said they were pulling out of conferences scheduled for March and May.

Thirty-three people have tested positive for the virus in California, said Dr. Sonia Angell, the director of the California Department of Public Health. Out of that group, 24 were from repatriation flights, seven were related to the patients’ travel and one had contracted it from an infected spouse. The most recent case was the one involving community transmission, which was reported in Solano County.

Mr. Newsom said five people had moved out of the state after testing positive. In addition, at least 8,400 people who have returned from overseas are being monitored in 49 jurisdictions.

One confirmed coronavirus case that cropped up in Solano County, between San Francisco and Sacramento, is especially worrisome to health officials. The patient had not had contact with anyone known to be infected, and had not traveled recently to a country where the virus is known to be in circulation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was the first such case reported in the United States, and it raised the possibility that someone who is asymptomatic may be carrying the virus and infecting others without knowing it.

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The Coronavirus Outbreak

  • Answers to your most common questions:

    Updated Feb. 26, 2020

    • What is a coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The C.D.C. haswarned older and at-risk travelers to avoid Japan, Italy and Iran. The agency also has advised against all nonessential travel to South Korea and China.
    • Where has the virus spread?
      The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 80,000 people in at least 33 countries, including Italy, Iran and South Korea.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is probably transmitted through sneezes, coughs and contaminated surfaces. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have been working with officials in China, where growth has slowed. But this week, as confirmed cases spiked on two continents, experts warned that the world was not ready for a major outbreak.

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The patient, a woman, became ill and was first treated in a hospital in Vacaville, then transferred to the UC Davis Medical Center. Doctors there suspected coronavirus and requested a test. But the C.D.C. did not perform the test for days, because it was restricting testing to sick people known to have been exposed to the virus. The day after her case was confirmed, the C.D.C. broadened its criteria to allow testing of people like her who appear to be ill from coronavirus but have no known point of exposure.

Solano County is also the location of Travis Air Force Base, where many Americans who were infected in Asia have been quarantined.

A government whistle-blower has filed a complaint saying that the federal health officials sent to interact with quarantined people at the base were not given proper training or protective gear, were not monitored or tested, and were allowed to move freely around and off the base — practices that potentially could have spread the virus into the community. The Department of Health and Human Services said it was looking into the complaint.

Similar things may have happened at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego, another base where American coronavirus evacuees from Asia were taken to be quarantined, according to a person with direct knowledge of the efforts there.

California officials said on Thursday that the C.D.C. had promised to vastly expand the state’s ability to test patients for the coronavirus. Mr. Newsom repeatedly said the previous system had been “inadequate” to keep the virus from spreading.

Mr. Newsom said the director of the C.D.C. had promised him that physicians would have a much greater ability to test patients who were showing symptoms of the infection, changes the governor said “can’t happen soon enough.”

“Testing protocols have been a point of frustration for many of us,” Mr. Newsom said, referring to health officials in California and governors of other states. State officials said California had just 200 testing kits left.

Even as the governor resisted declaring a statewide emergency, officials in San Francisco and Orange County announced they were taking that step. But officials in both places stressed that the move was less an acknowledgment of an active crisis and more about mobilizing the resources to prevent one.

“This declaration of emergency is all about preparedness,” San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed, told reporters on Wednesday.

Nichole Quick, the health officer for Orange County, said the formal declaration there would enable local officials to be “more nimble and flexible” in their response.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation,” Ms. Quick said on Wednesday, according to The Orange County Register, which reported that there had been one confirmed case of the virus in the county.

State officials planned to move people infected with the virus to a state-owned facility in Costa Mesa, a city of more than 100,000 in Orange County. But city leaders are fighting to keep them out.

The authorities in California selected the site after the Defense Department informed them that patients who tested positive for the virus could no longer stay at Travis Air Force Base.

Federal officials had planned to move the patients to a government facility in Alabama, court documents said, but officials in California thought that moving the group, most of them said to be residents of the state, would be detrimental to their health and well-being.

Instead, state officials said the people would be moved from the base in Solano County to the facility in Southern California, where they would remain in isolation while recovering.

But the decision touched off a legal fight with Costa Mesa. A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to stop the move. The judge said she would reconsider the issue after state and federal authorities provide more details about how they plan to protect the health of the community, as well as the people with the coronavirus. The judge set a hearing for March 2.

“This is a new one in terms of claiming a right not to have infectious disease introduced into your community,” said Polly Price, a professor of law and global public health at Emory University. Although cities and towns once claimed “an absolute right” to guard against disease, she said, state-level control over isolation and quarantine has been the norm for more than a century.

Blair Zong, 33, was among hundreds of Americans who were evacuated on flights arranged by the U.S. government and have had to wait through mandatory 14-day quarantines on military bases.

Ms. Zong, who lives in San Jose, Calif., was visiting her mother and grandparents in Wuhan, China, where she grew up, when the coronavirus outbreak became an epidemic.

She agreed to keep a daily journal of her time in quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

Reporting was contributed by Patrick J. Lyons, Sean Plambeck, Roni Caryn Rabin, Farah Stockman, Louis Keene, Emily Cochrane, Margot Sanger-Katz and Noah Weiland.

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