Something To Declare: dengue fever in South East Asia; Rimini and San Marino


Warning of the week: dengue fever in South East Asia

Warning of the week: dengue fever in South East Asia

The travel health specialist MASTA (09068 224100) reports a sharp rise in cases of dengue fever in Indonesia and Indochina. Dengue fever is a deeply unpleasant (and occasionally fatal) disease transmitted by mosquitoes that bite during the day. Unlike malaria, there is no preventative treatment other than avoiding bites.

In the past three months, there have been reports of 40,000 cases of dengue fever in Indonesia, including nearly 500 deaths. Danger areas include Bali and Java. The problem is particularly serious in Jakarta after heavy rains increased the mosquito population.

In Cambodia, the problem is even more acute relative to the population. Last year, 132,000 cases of the disease were reported, an increase of 22 per cent. Neighbouring Vietnam has confirmed 4,200 cases in the first three months of 2004 - an increase of 90 per cent on a year earlier. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and the Mekong Delta appear particularly badly affected.

Destination of the week: Rimini and San Marino

The Adriatic city of Rimini fell off the aviation map four years ago when the airport's new management declined to continue paying Ryanair £7 per passenger for flying there from Stansted. But a link from the Essex airport re-opens next month for a strictly limited period, when easyJet (0871 750 0100; www.easyJet.com) shifts its flights temporarily from Bologna; the runway is closed for repair from 3 May to 2 June.

The temporary nature of the operation means fares are very low for the time of year. Going out on Friday 7 May and back the following Monday, a fare of £76 is available, and even cheaper deals can be found if you are flexible with dates.

The resort of Rimini is well placed for visits to the independent republic of San Marino, a hill town 15 miles inland.

The Italian airline Volare (0800 032 0992; www.volareweb.com) is promising a more permanent link from Luton to Rimini, but so far the route has not materialised.

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When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
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