What can travelers do to prevent influenza H7N9?

People at high risk for complications from infection should avoid nonessential travel.

These include:

  • Children younger than 5 years old
  • Adults 65 years of age or older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with the following conditions:
    • Chronic lung (including asthma), heart, lung, liver, kidney, blood (including sickle cell disease), or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus)
    • Disorders that that can impair lung function
    • Immunosuppression, including that caused by medications or by HIV
    • People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy, because of an increased risk for Reye syndrome.

All other travelers should:

  • Avoid areas with known outbreaks of the virus and limit contact with sick people.
  • Avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups, with people who are sick.
  • Practice careful hygiene:
    • Wash your hands often.
    • If soap and water aren’t available, clean your hands with hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
    • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • If you become sick before, during, or after travel, contact a health care provider immediately and do not travel for at least 24 hours after your fever or signs of a fever are gone.
    • Antiviral medication can help if treatment is started early, ideally within 2 days after your illness began.
    • Contact a doctor immediately if you experience symptoms such as fever, coughing, or shortness of breath. For more information, visit Getting Health Care Abroad.
    • Delay your travel home until after you have recovered or a health care provider says you are healthy enough to travel.
    • If you get sick with fever, coughing, or shortness of breath after you return to the United States, contact a health care provider immediately and be sure to tell your doctor about your recent travel.

Clinician Information

Consider the possibility of influenza A (H7N9) virus infection in people presenting with respiratory illness, including those who have traveled internationally within 10 days. Although many H7N9 cases have resulted in severe respiratory illness, infection may cause mild illness in some people, including both adults and children.

Guidance for suspected influenza A (H7N9) virus infection in returning travelers

Initiate infection control precautions (airborne, droplet, and contact), obtain appropriate specimens, and notify your local or state health department promptly. State health departments should notify CDC of suspected cases within 24 hours by calling the Emergency Operations Center (770-488-7100) or emailing eocreport@cdc.gov. Empiric treatment with influenza antiviral medications may be warranted in persons with severe illness while testing is pending.

Diagnostic Testing

Influenza diagnostic testing in patients with respiratory illness of unknown etiology may identify human cases of H7N9 virus infection. Patients with H7N9 virus infection are expected to have a positive test result for influenza A virus via reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing, although most assays are not able to determine the influenza virus subtype. If H7N9 virus infection is suspected, CDC does not recommend the use of rapid influenza diagnostic tests.

Additional information

Communication Resources

Access communication, education and partner materials!