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The Independent Travel
Leeches do not spread the AIDS virus, but they can be deeply unpleasant in tropical countries: "Leeches get on to you by crawling head-over-tail across the ground over your boots and often attach to look like fetching little anklets around the sock line."

Writing in the latest edition of Wanderlust magazine, Dr Jane Wilson Howarth describes the secret life of leeches, and her experience of them in Nepal. "The little wound left by the leech was more troublesome than others that I had removed with salt or left to fall off. It itched for weeks and a tiny tattoo remained where a fragment of mouth parts had been left behind."

The magazine also contains accounts of travels in Central Asia and an appeal for members of the 153 Club: "The only requirement for membership is travel within the area of former Michelin map 153 (now numbered 953) which covered North West Africa". Wanderlust costs pounds 2.50; call 01753 620426 to find out where to acquire it.

Business travellers flying to Paris this month and next may find themselves accompanied by plenty of children on the aircraft - and may find it profitable to take one themselves. In retaliation against Eurostar's new service direct from Waterloo to Disneyland Paris, British Airways Travel Shops (0990 030303) is selling bargain day-trips to the French capital, including a free ticket for the theme park.

The offer works like this: on any day between now and 30 September you can fly from Heathrow or Gatwick to Paris and back for pounds 89. Birmingham or Manchester departures cost pounds 10 more. In an effort to discourage business travellers from using the offer, BA insists that two people must travel together. A pair of business colleagues could save a total of pounds 426 flying from Manchester .

To minimise this sort of thing, BA requires one member of the party to be under 12, for travel Monday-Friday. But the offer will appeal to, say, a businesswoman who can take her husband and child to Paris and leave them at the theme park for the day - for less than the normal fare to the city.

An outbreak of viral meningitis has been reported in the Limassol area of Cyprus. Several readers, including a London GP, have contacted the Independent to pass on warnings. The Foreign Office does not suggest that holidaymakers to the island should change their travel plans, but emphasises the need for scrupuous personal hygiene.

Viral meningitis is the less threatening form of the disease, and children are particularly susceptible to it. The symptoms are fever, severe headaches, nausea and the inability to touch the chin with a knee (because of inflammation of the spinal cord).