Britons no longer need to take malaria tablets before travelling to India, according to a recommendation by TropMedEurop, an electronic network of infectious disease specialists.
The organisation's research analysed all the malaria cases imported into eight European countries from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka between 1999 and 2004.
AdvertisementEven though malaria remains a hazard in the subcontinent, the study concluded that, for the average holidaymaker, the dangers from taking prophylactic drugs rated higher than the risk of disease.
The TropMedEurop analysis showed that a visitor to India faced a risk of catching malaria equivalent to one attack per 1,923 years spent in the country; the corresponding risk for Pakistan was 1,059 years.
These figures represent all cases of the disease, but most incidences of malaria from the subcontinent are the relatively mild vivax form. The risk of contracting falciparum malaria - the kind that can kill - in India is estimated at one per 27,888 years.
A travel medicine specialist told The Independent: "The new advice is not an invitation to trust to luck. The single most important precaution for travellers is to avoid being bitten: besides malaria, plenty of other insect-borne diseases thrive in the region."