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Travel Health Guidelines and Recommendations
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD):
Ebola Virus Disease is a virulent disease which is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people or by contact with contaminated objects. Symptoms include fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and in some cases, bleeding.
WHO advice to travellers:
WHO does not recommend a general ban on international travel and trade; restrictions regarding the travel of EVD cases and contacts should be implemented.
Anyone who has stayed in areas where cases were recently reported should be aware of the symptoms of infection and seek medical attention at the first sign of illness.
For further information, please visit: http://www.who.int/entity/csr/disease/ebola/en/index.html
WHO document on Travel and Transport risk assessment: Interim guidance for the public health authorities and the transport sector
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV):
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause a range of illnesses from the common cold to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The strain of coronavirus that causes MERS was first identified in 2012. The current pattern of disease appears to be the result of repeated introductions of the virus from camels to people, resulting in limited, but not in sustained human-to-human transmission. Groups considered at high risk of severe disease from MERS-CoV infection are people with diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung disease, etc. There is no information at this time to suggest that widespread transmission is occurring in communities.
WHO advice to travellers:
WHO does not recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions or entry screening.
WHO encourages countries to provide information and guidance on MERS to transport operators and ground staff, and about self-reporting of illness by travellers
For further information, please visit:
Following the Pandemic (H1N1) 2009, UNWTO compiled experiences and challenges the travel and tourism sector has made and faced in a report which was published as part of the Toward a Safer World initiative, led by the Word Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations System Influenza Coordination (UNSIC). To read the UNWTO report ¨Towards a Safer World: The Travel, Tourism and Aviation Sector¨, please click here.
Influenza A (H7N9):
Influenza A (H7N9) is considered an influenza virus that normally circulates among birds. There are rare cases where the disease has passed to humans. The World Health Organization (WHO) stresses that there is no evidence of ongoing human-to-human transmission.
There is no present threat to tourists and WHO does not recommend any travel restriction. Although both the source of infection and the mode of transmission are uncertain, it is prudent to follow basic hygienic practices to prevent infection.
For further information, please click here for the WHO Frequently Asked Questions on Influenza A(H7N9).
Pandemic (H1N1) 2009:
The H1N1 pandemic was characterized by the emergence of a new influenza virus to which many people had no pre-existing immunity. It caused unusual and extensive outbreaks of disease in the summer months in many countries and very high levels of disease in winter months. It was also characterized by an almost complete dominance of the pandemic virus over other seasonal influenza viruses, and by unusual clinical patterns where the most severe cases occurred most often in younger age groups.
The pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus has become a seasonal virus, continuing to circulate with other seasonal viruses since August 2010 when WHO declared the end of the (H1N1) 2009 pandemic.
Avian influenza, or “bird flu”, is a contagious disease of animals caused by viruses that normally infect only birds and, less commonly, pigs. Avian influenza viruses are highly species-specific, but have, on rare occasions, crossed the species barrier to infect humans.
In domestic poultry, infection with avian influenza viruses causes two main forms of disease, distinguished by low and high extremes of virulence. The so-called “low pathogenic” form commonly causes only mild symptoms (ruffled feathers, a drop in egg production) and may easily go undetected. The highly pathogenic form is far more dramatic. It spreads very rapidly through poultry flocks, causes disease affecting multiple internal organs, and has a mortality that can approach 100%, often within 48 hours.
For further information, please refer to the following links:
- WHO recommendations (English - French - Spanish - Russian - Arabic)
- Options During a Pandemic by U.S. Department of State
The following links provide a first overview of guidelines and other similar documents related to the Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 and Avian Influenza:
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO):
- UNWTO Conclusions and Recommendations from the Review and Preparation Exercises for Africa, Europe and Middle East (English - French - Spanish - Russian - Arabic)
- UNWTO Conclusions and Recommendations from the Review and Preparation Exercises for the Americas (English - French - Spanish - Russian - Arabic)
- UNWTO Travel and Tourism under Pandemic Conditions: Review and Preparation Exercise (English)
- Communications and Incentives: the Importance of Fast and Sincere Reporting (English)
- Recommendations on the Use of Georeferences, Date and Time in Travel Advoce and Event Information (English)
Documents Prepared by the Travel and Tourism Sector:
The following guidelines have been used during the Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 and are a good example of how the industry requires practical and feasible guidance adjusted to the concrete challenges they are facing. Please indicate other documents of relevance to firstname.lastname@example.org. All documents reflect the views of their respective authors and not necessarily the views of UNWTO.
- H1N1 Influenza Management in Hotels (AH&LA) (English)
- Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 for Hotels and Tourism Establishments (CEHAT) (English - Spanish)
- Cruise Industry Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 (CLIA) (English)
Generic Links for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises:
- A Preparedness Guide for Small Businesses (FLU.gov) (English)
- Business Continuity Management 2008 (Chartered Management Institute) (English)
- Flyer: Protecting Your Employees from Pandemic Human Influenza (ILO) (English)
- Action Manual for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (ILO) (English - Francais - Español - Lao - Japanese - Khmer - Vietnamese - Thai
- Business Continuity Management Toolkit (HM Government) (English)
The following links provide further access to relevant guidelines:
Cleaning and Hygiene Procedures:
- Food Contact Surface and Equipment Procedures (NRA) (English)
- Furniture and Fixtures Procedures (NRA) (English)
Entry Points for Pandemic H1N1:
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
- The Influenza Training Digital Library (WHO)
- Additional information can also be obtained on the WHO's International Travel and Health book, Chapter 9 (English - French).
Updated on 08/08/2014