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CDC Health Travel Warnings

How to Find Health Travel Warnings from the US Guv

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Just as the US guv State Department issues general travel alerts and travel warnings, the CDC -- Center for Disease Control -- issues health travel warnings and alerts. On the CDC's website, you can choose the country you want to visit and see what's going in the health world there, or check to see if the CDC has issued any travel notices in general.

What Are CDC Travel Notices?

The CDC issues "Travel Notices" intended to provide specific precautions to reduce risk during travel, and tips on what to do before and after travel or recommendations against all but essential travel. Travel Notices range in severity from "Outbreaks" to "Travel Health Precautions" to "Travel Health Warnings," and the CDC defines each thus:
  • Outbreaks: "Outbreak in limited geographic area or setting...Reinforced enhanced recommendations, such as vaccination."
  • Travel Health Precaution: "Outbreak of greater scope affecting a larger geographic area...Recommended specific precautions including avoiding areas with live poultry, such as live animal markets and poultry farms; ensuring poultry and eggs are thoroughly cooked; monitoring health."
  • Travel Health Warning: "Evidence that outbreak is expanding outside the area or populations initially affected...Recommended travelers to postpone nonessential travel because of level of risk."
An example of a Travel Health Warning would be the swine flu in Mexico in 2009 or the SARS outbreak in Asia in 2003; an example of a Travel Health Precaution would be the outbreak of bird flu, or avian influenza, in Asia in 2004; an example of an Outbreak would be the outbreak of yellow fever in Brazil in 2003.

Further reading: Read the rest of the CDC's definitions of travel notices.

What is the CDC?

The CDC, or Center for Disease Control, is an arm of the US government which watches health issues for US citizens, studying plague, flu and other diseases of interest. Aside from health travel warnings and Travel Notices, the CDC provides interesting health travel info you need to know on things like what kind of worms want to crawl into your orifices in South American rivers and how to find health care abroad.

As well, it produces fascinating fireside reading like The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Yellow Book, which gives you the skinny on every imaginable horrifying sickness possibiloty (and some you never imagined) and prevention thereof (including NONE), where you can pick up appalling bugs and vicious viruses, and observations regarding hitherto seemingly simple travel stuff like flying: "discomfort" (think abject agony) from sinus infections and "abdominal bloating" (think uncontrollable farting and general seatmate malcontent).

Read up and know before you go!

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