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HEALTH

10-year-old French boy dies from rabies after being bit by puppy

A French boy has died in France after being bit by a puppy whilst on holiday abroad.

10-year-old French boy dies from rabies after being bit by puppy
Photo: AFP
The ten-year-old, from the Rhone in eastern France, contracted the illness after being bit by a puppy on a beach in Dikwella in southern Sri Lanka. 
 
When he was originally bitten in August the family were not too worried, reports in France say.
 
However the boy soon deteriorated and was taken to hospital in Lyon on October 4th and placed in intensive care. 
 
Rabies, which has an incubation period of 20 to 60 days, was confirmed as the cause of death on Monday by the Pasteur Institute in Paris.
 
Around 60 people, including members of the child's family, as well as students and staff at his school have since received a vaccination for the disease. 
 
There have been no cases of “indigenous” rabies in humans in metropolitan France since 1924.
 
The only recent cases are of people who contracted the disease abroad, with 23 cases since 1970, and the last one occurring in 2014, according to health authorities.

HEALTH

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25

Free birth control for all women under 25 will be available in France from Saturday, expanding a scheme targeting under-18s to ensure young women don't stop taking contraception because they cannot afford it.

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25
A doctor holds an interuterine contraceptive device (IUD) before inserting it in a patient. Photo: Adek Berry/AFP

The scheme, which could benefit three million women, covers the pill, IUDs, contraceptive patches and other methods composed of steroid hormones. Contraception for minors was already free in France.

Several European countries, including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, make contraception free for teens. Britain makes several forms of contraception free to all.

France announced the extension to women under 25 in September, saying surveys showed a decline in the use of contraception mainly for financial reasons.

The move is part of a series of measures taken by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to boost women’s rights and alleviate youth poverty. The free provision is supported by women’s groups including the association En Avant Tous.

“Between 18 and 25-years-old, women are very vulnerable because they lose a lot of rights compared to when they were minors and are very precarious economically,” spokeswoman Louise Delavier told AFP.

Leslie Fonquerne, an expert in gender issues, said there was more to be done.

“This measure in no way resolves the imbalance in the contraceptive burden between women and men,” the sociologist said.

In some developed countries, the free contraception won by women after decades of campaigning is coming under attack again from the religious right.

In the United States, former president Barack Obama’s signature health reform, known as Obamacare, gave most people with health insurance free access to birth control.

But his successor Donald Trump scrapped the measure, allowing employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage on religious grounds — a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2020.

Poland’s conservative government has also heavily restricted access to emergency contraception as part of its war on birth control.

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