Travel Alerts

Health Alerts For Travelers During Winter 2019

CDC health alerts inform international travelers about infectious disease risks in various countries
fashion hat on a white beach
Australia (Vax Before Travel)

As the winter season takes hold of the chilly USA, warm beaches, as well as the Southern Hemisphere, become more appealing each day.

To help international travelers make informed pre-trip decisions, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its various Travel Alerts, as of November 3, 2019.

The CDC updated Travel Alerts for the following countries and related infectious diseases are as follows:

Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel

Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions

Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions

One of the most asked questions is 'what is the difference between routine, recommended, and required vaccines?'

The answer is generally based on the traveler's age, health, and itinerary.

According to the CDC, Routine vaccines are those that are recommended for everyone in the USA. You may think of these as the childhood vaccines you got before starting school.

But, some vaccines are routinely recommended for adults, like the adult pertussis booster Tdap, and some every year, like the flu shot.

A Required vaccine is one that travelers must have in order to enter a country, based on that country’s regulations. Yellow fever, meningococcal, and polio vaccines are often required by certain countries.

Recommended vaccines are those that the CDC suggests travelers get to protect their health, even if they aren't required for entry by the country you are visiting. For example, a typhoid vaccine can prevent typhoid, a serious disease spread by contaminated food and water, which is not usually found in the USA.

You can find some of the CDC’s most frequently asked travel vaccination questions and responses below:

1. What vaccines or medicines should I get before traveling to my destination?

  • Use the CDC destination search tool to find the vaccines and medications you need for your next trip, and schedule an appointment with a travel medicine specialist at least 1 month before traveling for real-world advice.

2. If I am going on a cruise that will stop in several countries, which vaccines are needed?

  • You should be up-to-date on routine vaccines, such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), tetanus, and flu shot. Depending on where you’re going and what activities you plan, other vaccines may be recommended.

3. What are the prices of vaccines needed for travel outside the USA?

  • Vaccine prices vary by the healthcare provider and insurance coverage. You should be able to get routine vaccines from your primary provider, travel clinic, or pharmacist. And, the CDC’s Vaccines For Children program offers vaccines tp those who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay.

4. Which medications can I travel with?

  • When packing for trips abroad, don’t forget there may be special considerations for bringing your prescriptions and other medicines with you. Some medicines that are commonly prescribed or available over-the-counter in the USA can be illegal in other countries. Check with the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country you will be visiting to make sure your medicines are permitted in that country.

5.  Check your measles immunity prior to departure. 

  • It is easy to find and schedule a measles test at commercial labs, such as UltaLabs.  <<Measles Immunity Test>>

Additionally, the CDC says international travelers can find relevant information at these websites:

a.  For country-specific information about Safety and Security, visit the U.S. Department of State.

b.  For country-specific weather conditions, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration International Weather Selector webpage.

c.  For a list of all Zika virus travel notices by region, visit CDC Zika travel information.

Additionally, you can easily enroll in a free Travel Alert newsletter to receive the latest news from countries around the globe.

Travel Alerts published by Vax-Before-Travel


Article by
Dani Reiter