UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: International EM

Title: TRAVEL ALERTS!! What to know before you go.

Keywords: travel, infectious diseases, CDC (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/1/2016 by Jon Mark Hirshon, PhD, MPH, MD (Updated: 7/14/2024)
Click here to contact Jon Mark Hirshon, PhD, MPH, MD

As we head into the summer travel season, it is important to know what potential dangers lurk out there for the unwary traveler.  While injuries are usually the primary cause for death and disability for Americans abroad, what about other diseases?


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a webpage with travel health notices. 

They are three types of notices:


  • Warning Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel
    • High risk to travelers


  • Alert Level 2: Practice Enhanced Precautions
    • Increased risk in defined settings or associated with specific risk factors; certain high-risk populations may wish to delay travel to these destinations


  • Watch Level 1: Practice Usual Precautions
    • Usual baseline risk or slightly above baseline risk for destination and limited impact to the traveler


Currently, there are a number of Level 1 watches and Level 2 alerts for different countries, but no Level 3 warnings.  Many of the Level 2 alerts relate to Zika virus, but there are others for MERS, Yellow Fever and Polio.


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