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HEALTH

Health chiefs raise alarm over measles outbreak at French Alps ski resort

French health authorities have warned of a surge in measles cases at the Val-Thorens ski resort, one of the highest in the Alps and a popular destination for both French and foreign tourists.

Health chiefs raise alarm over measles outbreak at French Alps ski resort
Photo: AFP
The 18 recorded cases “are mostly young adults working at the station this season,” the ARS regional health agency for the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes district said.
   
It recommended that parents ensure that they and their children are vaccinated against the highly contagious disease, as thousands of families prepare to hit the slopes during winter school vacations in the coming weeks. 
   
Beyond the outbreak at Val-Tho, as it is popularly known by skiers, the agency said 12 other cases had been registered in the region since February 4.
 
Cases have been rising in France and other parts of the developed world in recent years, the result of fewer children being vaccinated against a viral disease that causes rashes and inflammation which can quickly prove fatal.
   
The ARS recorded just eight cases in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region in 2016, a figure that jumped to 45 in 2017 and hit 84 last year.

Member comments

  1. I don’t know why authorities cannot think of a reason why there’s a measles outbreak…with how many people coming across into France from other countries? Better get your vaccinations ready.

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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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