Health authorities in some countries maintain systems to officially notify travelers of health risks at specific destinations. In general, these systems include a notice level at which travelers should practice typical health precautions, a notice level at which travelers should practice more robust health precautions, and a notice level at which travelers should consider deferring nonessential travel. Travelers, travel managers, and travel medicine specialists should consider any current travel health notices at their destination when planning or preparing for a trip.

For example, the US CDC maintains a three-tiered system of travel health notices, which describes both degrees of risk for the traveler and recommended preventive measures to take at each level of risk.

Notice Level Traveler Action Risk to Traveler
Level 1: Watch Reminder to follow usual precautions for the destination Usual baseline risk or slightly above baseline risk for destination and limited impact to the traveler
Level 2: Alert Follow enhanced precautions for this destination Increased risk in defined settings or associated with specific risk factors
Level 3: Warning Avoid all nonessential travel to this destination High risk to travelers

The Canadian Travel Health Notices appear like this:

Notice Level Level Description
Level 1 - Practice usual precautions Advises practicing usual travel health precautions. For example, notices at this level may remind travelers about routine vaccinations, highlight the importance of hand washing, or recommend protective measures to avoid mosquito bites.
Level 2 - Practice special precautions Recommends that travelers practice special health precautions, such as receiving additional vaccinations. A notice at this level would be issued if there is an outbreak in a limited geographic location, a newly identified disease in the region, or a change in the existing pattern of disease.
Level 3 - Avoid non-essential travel Recommends against nonessential travel in order to protect the health of travelers and the public. Such notices outline specific precautions to take when visiting the region and what to do if you become ill during or after travel. A notice at this level would be issued during a large-scale outbreak in a large geographical area, or if there is increased risk to the traveler and an increased risk of spreading disease to other groups, including the public at home.
Level 4 - Avoid all travel Advises travelers to avoid all travel in order to protect the health of travelers and the public. A notice at this level would be issued if there is a high risk of spread of disease to the general public regardless of measures taken while traveling.

Instead of maintaining systems specific to travel health notices, some countries include health threats among other considerations when issuing general travel notices. For example, Australian authorities consider health threats in their four-tiered system: Level 1 - Exercise normal safety precautions; Level 2 - Exercise a high degree of caution; Level 3 - Reconsider your need to travel; and Level 4 - Do not travel.


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