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Travelers' Health

Helping to reduce illness and injury in U.S. residents traveling internationally or living abroad, through alerts, recommendations, education, and support to travelers and health care providers, based on the best science.

The Division of Global Migration and Quarantine's (DGMQ) Travelers' Health Branch (proposed name) monitors, analyzes, and reports occurrences of diseases and events of global public health significance.

Areas of focus include:

  • studying and monitoring illness and injury among travelers
  • health communication and education
  • collaboration with external partners
  • monitoring disease outbreaks and other health threats around the world that may affect travelers

The branch provides travel health advice, including vaccine recommendations and requirements, to international travelers and the health care providers who advise them.

The Travelers' Health Branch also plays an integral role in CDC's global emergency response efforts. The branch is responsible for developing and distributing event-specific advice regarding the risks of travel during an emergency, such as the H1N1 influenza pandemic, the Haiti earthquake and cholera outbreak, and the Japan earthquake and radiation release.

Yellow Book cover 2016
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The Yellow Book

CDC Health Information for International Travel, commonly referred to as the “ Yellow Book,” is the definitive U.S. travel medicine reference for clinicians advising patients before and after travel and is a renowned reference throughout the world. The Yellow Book is published every two years and can be accessed for free online (www.cdc.gov/yellowbook or purchased through Oxford University Press or other online booksellers.

Travelers' Health Website

CDC's Travelers' Health website (www.cdc.gov/travel) provides outbreak updates and travel notices, travel-related disease information, and destination-specific recommendations for travelers and their health care providers. The website contains information for specific groups of travelers, such as children, study-abroad students, humanitarian and emergency response workers, and special needs travelers. Additional resources include podcasts, presentations, and a registry of U.S. clinics that provide yellow fever vaccine.

Yellow Fever Vaccine Online Training

The "Yellow Fever Vaccine: Information for Health Care Professionals Advising Travelers" course provides information on the history and study of yellow fever, vaccine recommendations, the pre-travel consultation, and the process of becoming a designated yellow fever vaccination provider. Several types of continuing education credits are available for this free course, which can be found at www.cdc.gov/travel-training.

The Travelers' Health Branch is made up of two teams that work together to safeguard the health of international travelers...

Health Communication and Education Team

The Health Communication and Education Team informs and educates a wide variety of audiences through traditional and innovative communication channels.

  • Develops travel health guidance and recommendations for common diseases and health risks in international destinations, as well as for disease outbreaks and event-related risks
  • Conducts audience research and evaluation to assess the need for and impact of travel health messages
  • Develops and maintains the CDC Travelers' Health website (www.cdc.gov/travel), which is consistently among CDC's top five most visited websites (approximately 26 million page views in 2012)
  • Publishes CDC Health Information for International Travel (the "Yellow Book"), the official U.S. government travel health recommendations
  • Communicates travel health recommendations through social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook
  • Develops maps of travel health risks, including maps of the distributions of diseases and at-risk populations, as well as transportation patterns
  • Answers questions from the general public through the CDC-INFO call center and e-mail box

Surveillance and Epidemiology Team

	Travelers with camera

The Surveillance and Epidemiology Team maintains travel-related health information from around the world and monitors data sources to identify risks that may impact the health and safety of globally mobile populations.

  • Conducts studies of diseases spread through travel to increase knowledge and improve the accuracy of travel health recommendations
  • Partnered with the International Society for Travel Medicine to establish the GeoSentinel Network Surveillance System, a worldwide network of more than 50 travel and tropical medicine clinics on 6 continents that collects health information
  • Uses GeoSentinel data for monitoring travel-related illnesses and emerging infections, health alerts and advisories, and real-time reporting of disease events
  • Establishes partnerships with consortiums of travel medicine clinics in the United States, including Global TravEpiNet, to assess pre-travel health care
  • Fulfills CDC's yellow fever regulatory responsibilities by maintaining the U.S. yellow fever registry, a national database of health care providers registered to administer the yellow fever vaccine
  • Participates in intra-agency and international collaborations on yellow fever vaccine safety, global yellow fever risk classification, and vaccine recommendations
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