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Protecting Travelers' Health through the Yellow Book

Cover of 2012 Yellow Book

Cover of 2012 Yellow Book

Have you ever wondered how to prepare for and stay healthy during international travel? This information and much more can be found on the NCEZID Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) Travelers’ Health website where you can access the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Health Information for International Travel: The Yellow Book. This authoritative resource provides travel health recommendations for health care providers to help international travelers prepare for trips, stay healthy while abroad, and monitor their health upon return.

Rates of international travel have continued to grow substantially in the past decade. In 2009, US residents made more than 61 million trips with at least one night outside the United States, an approximate 5% increase since 1999. Not only are more people traveling, but they are also seeking out areas that have rarely been visited in the past. In addition, the infectious disease risks that travelers face are dynamic—some travel destinations have become safer, while in other areas, new diseases have emerged and other diseases have reemerged.

The Yellow Book is continuously revised in order to remain up-to-date with international travel trends and the shifting target of infectious disease risks. A new print edition of the Yellow Book is published every two years and updates to the print edition are posted regularly on the Travelers’ Health website. As the only US government source for health recommendations for travelers, the Yellow Book serves as a valuable reference for health care providers, travelers, and travel industries around the world. “CDC hopes clinicians and travelers will use the Yellow Book to learn about what steps should be taken before, during, and after travel to have a healthy and safe trip,” said Dr. Gary Brunette, chief of DGMQ’s Travelers’ Health Branch and Editor-in-Chief of the Yellow Book.

 Old Yellow Book copies.

CDC Health Information for International Travel began in 1967 as a small gray booklet focusing on vaccine requirements for travel, particularly yellow fever vaccine. In later editions, the book’s cover transitioned to a distinctive bright yellow, thus giving the publication the nickname “Yellow Book.”

Popular features from previous Yellow Book editions are included in the new 2012 edition. These topics include jet lag, cruise ship travel, traveling with disabilities, traveling with infants and children, international adoptions, and immigrants returning to their native countries to visit friends and relatives. The new Yellow Book also contains itineraries for 13 special destinations such as the Caribbean, Egypt and Nile River cruises, Guatemala and Belize, Hajj Pilgrimage (Saudi Arabia), Mexico, and South Africa.

For the first time, the 2012 edition of the Yellow Book will be available in hard copy, online at, and as an electronic book with all three formats including these new features:

  • Updated maps on the distribution of dengue
  • Larger and more detailed maps for yellow fever and malaria
  • Food and water precautions
  • Perspectives on what to expect while traveling during an international disease outbreak
  • Tips for travel to mass gatherings such as the Hajj pilgrimage and sporting events like the Olympics or World Cup

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the editorial staff and contributions from hundreds of subject matter experts both internal and external to the CDC, the Yellow Book remains the gold standard for travel medicine practice and one of CDC’s most well-known publications.