Share this article on:

Travel Medicine Guidelines for Physicians

DuPont, Herbert L. MD

Infectious Diseases in Clinical Practice: May 2007 - Volume 15 - Issue 3 - pp 194-195
doi: 10.1097/01.idc.0000269914.72229.3e
Clinical Guidelines

Because of the availability of large amounts of trip-specific medical information, all persons who advise on health risks for future travel need to have a working knowledge of the major areas within travel medicine: pretravel immunizations, diarrhea prevention and self-treatment, malaria prevention, and then a large number of miscellaneous areas including visiting locations of high alltitude, preventing thromboembolic disease during long hauls, and finding a physician when out of town. This article deals with a summary of the specific areas important to travel medicine and provides web sites for future review.

St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.

Dr DuPont has received honoraria for speaking for the following companies: Salix Pharmaceuticals, Merck Vaccine Division, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Romark Institute for Medical Research, and IOMAI Corporation and has received grants through his university to support research from the following: Salix Pharmaceuticals, Romark Institute for Medical Research, IOMAI Corporation, and Optimer Pharmaceuticals.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Herbert L. DuPont, MD, 6720 Bertner Ave, MC1-164, Houston, TX 77030. E-mail:

Travel medicine is one of the fast-growing medical disciplines. The growth relates to at least 3 general explanations: more than 700 million persons cross international boundaries on an annual basis, representing a huge number at risk for illness; the amount of money spent on international travel is high, and the importance of disability during travel can be serious; and risks of illness during international travel and methods of prevention have been defined through epidemiological study.

Recent guidelines in travel medicine were developed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.1 This review by one of the reports' authors summarizes selected aspects of the guidelines. Most of these guidelines are included in tabular form.

The 4 most important areas of travel medicine are the following: vaccines (Table 1); prevention and treatment of travelers' diarrhea (Table 2); prevention of malaria (Table 3); and a variety of additional areas in travel medicine that can be summarized (Table 4). Everyone advising persons planning to travel to high-risk regions of the tropical world should have a working knowledge in these areas.

In the following 4 tables, guidelines are briefly summarized. The published article should be reviewed for more details in this growing area. Also, interested persons should consult internet-based programs to keep up to date. A few of the important Web sites are included in the last table and should be consulted before making pretravel plans.

Back to Top | Article Outline


1. Hill DR, Ericsson CD, Pearson RD, et al. The practice of travel medicine: guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis. 2006;43:1499-1539.
© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.