NCEZID: Keeping People Safe When They’re on the Move

A crowd of people at an airport


More than a million people travel to the United States each day. Americans are on the go, too, taking about 87 million international trips each year. All international travelers face increased risk of getting and spreading infectious diseases. We focus on activities that lessen the public health risks of rapid global travel because diseases and outbreaks can quickly cross international borders.

What we’re doing

  • NCEZID oversees 20 quarantine stations, strategically located at US airports, land borders, and seaports where most international travelers arrive. These “Q stations” are an important domestic “line of defense” against the spread of infectious diseases into and throughout the United States. NCEZID and its partners, such as US Customs and Border Protection and local emergency medical services, evaluate travelers entering the United States for signs of serious contagious diseases. Travelers’ Health provides outbreak updates and travel notices, travel-related disease information, interactive maps, and other destination-specific recommendations for travelers and their healthcare providers.
  • NCEZID publishes The Yellow Book (CDC Health Information for International Travel), the definitive US travel medicine reference for clinicians advising patients before and after travel.
  • We alert travelers at airports about disease outbreaks and steps they can take to protect themselves.
  • We restrict the importation of certain items brought into the United States that may pose threats to public health. These items include certain animals, items made from those animals, and biologics and vector importations.
  • Because we are located at airports, we can send life-saving drugs on the next flight a physician attending a patient with malaria, botulism, or diphtheria. These drugs are difficult to obtain commercially, but we make them available to US clinicians for patients who meet certain requirements.
  • NCEZID ensures the health of people coming to live and work in the United States by overseeing the mandatory health screenings for all immigrants and refugees entering the United States, as well as working with partners to implement overseas vaccination and parasite treatment programs for US bound refugees.
  • NCEZID partners to protect the health of US communities along the US-Mexico border by working with state, local, and Mexican public health institutions to detect, notify, investigate, and respond to reports of illness and infectious disease among residents and travelers in US communities along the US-Mexico border.
  • We work to prevent and slow the spread of infectious diseases in communities, like pandemic flu, through nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs).
Stories on Border Safety and Healthy Travel
Accomplishments & Innovations

Find more information on accomplishments and innovations in Border Safety in these publications.