Travel Departures: Malaria in India

The plague scare in western India has receded, but a new threat has emerged: cerebral malaria. According to some reports, a strain of this mosquito-borne disease (Plasmodium falciparum) has killed more than 2,000 people in Rajasthan. Hundreds of deaths have also been attributed to malaria in the states of Manipur, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

'It is not unusual to see a rise in the incidence of this disease at this time of the year, but this increase is exceptionally large,' says Peter Barrett of Masta, the travellers' health service. The cause is thought to be a combination of heavier-than-usual monsoons and a reduction in the mosquito-eradication programme. Dr Barrett expects the outbreak to die down by the end of November as the weather cools.

The advice to visitors is to take a combination of chloroquine and Paludrine, and to protect against being bitten - especially in the evenings.

Masta advice line: 0891 224100, a premium-rate service costing 39p per minute cheap rate, 49p at all other times.

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