07 H1N1 Flu Travel FAQs (General Information)
Currently, CDC posts H1N1 travel updates at least once a week at the beginning of the week. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/content/novel-h1n1-flu.aspx.
The CDC and CDPH recommend that if you are sick with symptoms of flu-like illness, you should not travel. These symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.
Currently, the CDC does not recommend any travel restrictions for the H1N1 flu. You can get the most up-to-date information about any travel restrictions from the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. You can also call the CDC hotline at: 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348, 24 hours a day/every day of the week.
There are many general recommendations for traveling that are not specifically related to the H1N1 flu but will also help to keep you healthy.
Ask your doctor if certain vaccinations are recommended for that area and make sure you are up to date on all routinely recommended vaccinations.
It might be a good idea to identify the health-care resources in the area(s) you will be visiting ahead of time.
If you are traveling abroad, check if your health insurance plan will cover you. You may wish to consider purchasing additional insurance that covers medical evacuation in case you become sick. To find a list of possible travel health and medical evacuation insurance companies, visit Medical Information for Americans Abroad (U.S. Department of State).
Remember that U.S. embassies, consulates and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to give medications, vaccines or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.
Currently (as of November 2, 2009), the United States is not screening travelers who arrive from another country or are departing for another country.
As of November 2, 2009, the CDC advises that some countries may screen international travelers for possible H1N1 flu.
Due to the circulation of H1N1 influenza in the United States and many other countries, airport staff in some foreign countries may check the health of arriving passengers. Many other countries, including Japan and China, are screening arriving passengers for symptoms of the flu.
In other countries that are conducting entry screening for H1N1 flu, travelers may be checked for fever and other symptoms of H1N1 flu, and their travel may be delayed. Consult the embassy of the country, or countries, in your travel itinerary for information about entry screening procedures (see websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions for contact information: http://www.usembassy.gov).
See the CDC travel website or call the CDC hotline for the most up-to-date-information (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/content/news-announcements/delays-H1N1-screening.aspx).
Currrently, H1N1 flu cases have been reported in many countries around the world, including the United States. For the most up-to-date information about where cases of H1N1 flu are occurring, see the following pages on CDC's H1N1 Flu website (http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu): H1N1 flu in the United States, see 2009 H1N1 Flu: Situation Update and International 2009 H1N1 flu situation, see 2009 H1N1 Flu: International Situation Update
Other resources with information about the outbreak situation include the following websites:
World Health Organization (WHO) Influenza A (H1N1) website: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/
Pan American Health Organization website: http://new.paho.org
Note: one should be cautious in interpretation of data compiled by the WHO. It will be difficult to compare from country to country. The public health systems in countries differ and not all countries have the same systems in place and resources to track the number of cases of flu.
If you have traveled to Mexico, or other countries where there are persons with confirmed H1N1 flu infection, or you have been exposed to someone with H1N1 flu, and if it has been more than 7 days since you returned and you are not ill, you are probably not infected with the H1N1 flu virus. If it has been less than 7 days and you are showing flu-like symptoms, stay home to avoid potential spreading and contact your health care provider to discuss possible testing and treatment. Remember, only a health care provider can diagnose the H1N1 flu virus by assessing the illness and obtaining the appropriate tests. Many symptoms of respiratory diseases can be similar to the H1N1 flu.
If the person traveled more than 7 days ago and they are not ill, you do not need to avoid them. If the person traveled to Mexico, other countries, or other parts of the United States where there are confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu, or has been exposed to someone with the H1N1 flu less than 7 days ago and/or they are showing flu-like symptoms, it is best to avoid physical contact with them. Tell them to stay home to avoid potential spreading and contact their health care provider to discuss possible testing and treatment. Be sure their doctor is made aware of their recent travel. Only a health care provider can diagnose the H1N1 flu virus by assessing the illness and obtaining the appropriate tests and many symptoms of respiratory diseases can be similar.
No. Persons returning from Mexico or other countries with confirmed H1N1 flu and who feel well do not have to stay home and can return to work immediately.
At this time, CDC does not recommend against travel to any country. CDC will continue to monitor the H1N1 situation around the world and will provide recommendations to U.S. travelers based on the changing situation.
CDC recommends that you do not travel if you are sick with flu-like symptoms. Do not assume that antiviral drugs will be easy to get if you are traveling.
If you have a trip scheduled and have flu-like symptoms, you should not travel for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine. A fever is defined as having a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degrees Celsius or greater.
If you get sick during a trip, stay in your hotel room, except to seek medical care or other necessities, for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
CDC is advising that travelers at high risk for flu complications should consider postponing travel, or seek medical advice prior to traveling.
Visit CDC's Travelers' Health website for the latest information about travel advisories: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.
CDC does not have any jurisdiction over airline policies. However, CDC is aware that some airlines have adopted flexible policies for passengers who need or wish to change their travel plans due to the H1N1 outbreak.
Policies vary by airline and consumers should check with their airline to see what the airline's policy is. Typically, airline policies are posted on the individual airline's website.
After checking the airline policy, if consumers feel that the airline is not following that policy they can file a complaint with Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Office.
CDC does not recommend antiviral drugs (drugs that fight viruses) for protection from novel H1N1 influenza (flu) before travel, except in very limited circumstances as follows.
Pre-exposure antiviral chemoprophylaxis (treatment before getting sick) should only be used in limited circumstances and in consultation with local medical or public health authorities. Certain persons at ongoing occupational risk for exposure who are also at higher risk for complications of flu (e.g., healthcare personnel, public health workers, or first responders who are working in communities with novel H1N1 flu outbreaks) should carefully follow guidelines for appropriate personal protective equipment or consider temporary reassignment.
It is currently not possible to assure you that CDC will be able to provide the status of test results for novel H1N1 flu from of an ill passenger's on an aircraft or cruiseship to you in a timely manner. In addition, it is not possible for CDC to find out if a passenger on a bus, train, or subway that you may have been on was infected with H1N1 flu.
California Department of Public Health, Office of Public Affairs
Reviewed by CDPH 10/24/09
Posted by H1N1 Web Team 11/3/09