About 350 patients at a hospital in Plymouth are being contacted to warn them they are at risk of having malaria.

Derriford Hospital said yesterday it had identified a group of recent orthopaedic patients who could have the disease. The Independent revealed last week that a patient at Bedford Hospital had contracted malaria, prompting the recall of 200 people for blood tests. Derriford Hospital would not say whether there was a link with the Bedford case.

Dr Jim Greig, in charge of infection control at Derriford, said: "The risk to patients is very small ... We are informing people as a precautionary measure. There is no longer any potential risk to patients at Derriford Hospital."

Dr Sarah Harrison, consultant in disease control at the South and West Devon Health Authority, said: "People should not be overly concerned. If you have been an orthopaedic inpatient in Derriford during January and suffer from a fever, please contact your doctor explaining why you are worried."

Symptoms of malaria include flu-like illness, headache, muscle aches and tiredness.

Bedford Hospital wants to test patients from as far back as December to find out whether a patient or a member of staff passed on the blood-borne parasite that causes the illness. It is thought unlikely to have been transmitted by a mosquito.

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