CDC Yellow Book Celebrates 50 Years of Protecting International Travelers

From the late 1960s to today, the CDC Yellow Book has evolved to become the gold standard resource for US travel medicine providers.

17 different CDC Yellow Book editions fanned out in two different stacks with the older editions in the top stack and the newer editions in the bottom stack.

CDC Yellow Book: 50 years old and still going strong

Since its first publication 50 years ago, the CDC Health Information for International Travel(a.k.a. the CDC Yellow Book) has evolved from a small pamphlet to a major medical reference, providing the most current and comprehensive travel health guidelines.

Increasing International Travel Makes Travel Medicine a Critical Public Health Pursuit

In 2016, international tourist arrivals reached over 1.2 billion for the seventh year in a row, according to the United Nations World Tourism OrganizationExternal (UNWTO) and that trend does not seem to be waning. As people continue traveling, they are also seeking destinations less commonly visited than in the past. The most recent UNWTO annual report found that African, Asian, and Pacific regions were experiencing the strongest growth in tourism. With US travelers taking more than 73 million international trips each year, the association between travel and destination-specific risks continues to be a critical area of study for CDC’s Travelers’ Health program.

Cover of the “CDC Yellow Book 2018: Health Information for International Travel.”

2018 Edition Updates

  • New cholera vaccine recommendations
  • Revised guidance on the use of antibiotics in the treatment of travelers’ diarrhea
  • Special considerations for wilderness and expedition trips and work-related travel
  • New sections on healthy travel to Cuba and Burma

“Risks that travelers face are dynamic—some travel destinations have become safer, while in other areas new diseases have emerged or other diseases have reemerged,” says CDC Yellow Book’s Chief Medical Editor, Phyllis Kozarsky, MD.

The risk of travelers becoming ill or injured during an international trip depends on many factors, such as region of the world visited, health status and age of the traveler, length of travel, and the types of activities abroad.

Kozarsky observes, “the importance of protecting the health of individual travelers, as well as safeguarding the health of the communities these travelers are returning to, can’t be overstated.”

CDC Yellow Book Helps Practitioners and Travelers Stay Abreast of International Travel Trends and Ways to Minimize Health and Safety Risks

The CDC Yellow Book is published every two years in collaboration with Oxford University PressExternalas a hard-copy medical reference so health professionals can remain up-to-date with international travel trends and the shifting target of infectious disease risks. It provides authoritative travel health recommendations to help international travelers prepare for trips, stay healthy while abroad, and monitor their health upon return.

Program Impact

The award-winning CDC Yellow Book serves as the foundation for all content on the Travelers’ Health site, which ranks among the 10 most visited of all CDC websites. The most popularly viewed travel health pages are consistently the CDC Yellow Book’s list of yellow fever and malaria recommendations by destination country.