MOSQUITOES, as well as conmen, are afflicting Poland. The cause is the mild winter, and the effects can be mitigated by using an insect repellent containing DEET (though this should not be used on children under six). A similar outbreak is predicted for the US Midwest and East Coast.

A far greater threat exists in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, where stray dogs are said to be spreading rabies. Dr Peter Barrett of Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad (0891 224100 premium-rate line) says: 'Rabies is a potential problem throughout the former Communist bloc.'