Traveling during an outbreak

The swine influenza virus is all over the news this past week. While it’s not exactly a pandemic yet, the World Health Organization (WHO) claims that a pandemic is imminent.

As seen in previous worldwide outbreaks such as the avian flu and SARS, travelers are becoming both worried and wary, especially if there are confirmed cases of the outbreak in their destination. But the burden of protecting one’s self mostly lies in the hands of the traveler.  According to the WHO, implementing travel bans and closed borders might have little effect:

The World Health Organization urged countries not to restrict international travel or close borders, as such measures would not in themselves stem the outbreak. Efforts to contain the outbreak by restricting travel would be unlikely to work without “draconian measures,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the agency’s assistant director-general. But he said people who are ill should put off trips abroad, and people who fall ill after a trip should see a doctor.
Source: “Travel Industry Grapples With Swine Flu” by Lisa Respers France,

If you’re planning to travel during or after an outbreak, it’s important to monitor news updates about the disease. You’ll be better equipped to protect yourself if you know more about the it, how it’s transmitted, what the symptoms are, and the alert levels raised by the government and the WHO. Learning these facts will also allow you to keep yourself healthy without being prone to needless panicking.

Also, note the contact information and addresses of the hospitals which are equipped to handle the disease. This will help you act faster in case you suspect that you or your traveling companions have been infected.

Have you ever risked traveling during an outbreak?

Image by lusi from

Posted by | Comments (2)  | April 30, 2009
Category: Vagabonding Advice

2 Responses to “Traveling during an outbreak”

  1. Says:

    I have not risked travel during an outbreak. I don’t know if I would — it would depend on where I was going. I think if people would take responsibility for their lives, things would be much better. I think it’s sad that we must remind people to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they cough, and use a tissue when you sneeze or sneeze into your shirt/sweater. It’s too late to close the borders…