CDC Updates Healthy Travel Yellow Book

The 2010 edition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "Yellow Book" includes new or expanded sections on medical tourism, traveling safely with chronic diseases and conditions, and expert perspectives on popular travel itineraries worldwide. Nicknamed for its yellow cover, the health guide updated every two years is officially titled CDC Health Information for International Travel.

The updated book, which is a definitive guide for healthy international travel, is now available online. The resource provides travel health recommendations and other features that help international travelers prepare for trips and stay healthy while abroad.

"The profile of the international traveler is changing. Increasingly, we're seeing older Americans traveling with chronic medical conditions,” said Dr. Gary Brunette, chief of CDC's Travelers' Health Branch and managing editor of the 2010 Yellow Book. "The new Yellow Book provides tips to help these travelers, and all international travelers, be healthy."

The Yellow Book includes for the first time a section on medical tourism, the growing practice of traveling internationally for medical procedures, and leisure activities in one trip. In 2006, more than half a million Americans traveled abroad for health care, according to one survey.

"More people are traveling abroad for medical reasons, often to undergo medical procedures at cheaper rates than they might get in the United States," Brunette said. "Medical standards can vary by country, and traveling soon after a medical procedure can carry its own set of health risks. We're providing new recommendations to help people who choose medical tourism to do it as safely as possible.

A new section highlights select international destinations that are popular but may be unfamiliar to doctors advising travelers. CDC asked travel health experts with particular knowledge of these areas to write the new sections to give readers a sense of what it's really like to be there and what health risks exist at each location. The nine highlighted itineraries include Cuzco-Machu Pichu in Peru, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Iguassu Falls in South America, safaris in eastern and southern Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and trips to India, China, Costa Rica, and Nepal.

The 2010 edition also includes these new features:

  • In-epth information about 20 additional diseases that travelers might not be familiar with, such as anthrax and scabies
  • A discussion on mental health and travel
  • A section about drug-drug and drug-vaccine interactions, which is especially important since travelers may be recommended to take a number of vaccines and medications before and during travel
  • A section about common respiratory infections in travelers
  • More in-depth information about common post-travel illnesses, such as persistent travelers' diarrhea and fever, their causes, and when to seek treatment

Popular past features have been updated in the 2010 edition. These topics include jet lag, cruise ship travel, traveling with disabilities, traveling with infants and children, international adoptions, and immigrants returning to visit their native countries.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/travel.

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