Travel Related Infection Screening

Screening patients for travel related infections is an important way to identify cases early and prevent the spread of infections in healthcare. This webpage provides several resources to help healthcare implement screening and infection prevention practices for travel related infections. 


Importance of Travel History | Screening and Triage | Screening and Infection Control | Clinical Evaluation | Healthcare Readiness | Resources | Contact Us |

Importance of Travel History

A travel history is a key part of assessing sick patients, especially during entry to a healthcare facility.

Understanding a patient's travel history allows healthcare providers to identify individuals who may have encountered or been exposed to unique pathogens during their travels, including but not limited to:

Beyond these specific pathogens, a comprehensive travel history is instrumental in recognizing a spectrum of travel-related infections. These may encompass well-known diseases like Zika virus, Malaria, Dengue, as well as vaccine-preventable diseases like Measles.

Taking a travel history is an important part of:

  • Providing rapid triage
  • Prompt isolation of patients
  • Initiating infection control measures to minimize disease spread

Screening and Triage

According to the CDC, as many as 43%–79% of travelers to low- and middle-income countries become ill with a travel-associated health problem. Although most of these illnesses are mild, some travelers become sick enough to seek care from a health care provider. Furthermore, potentially severe, transmissible infections (e.g., COVID-19, Ebola, MERS) require enhanced infection control measures and often, higher levels of care.

Assessment Questions

When evaluating patients for acute illness, you can ask:

  • "Have you traveled internationally within the past month?"

MyPACT | Identify, Isolate, and Inform Approach Risk Assessment

Acute Symptoms

Symptoms indicating infection include:

  • New respiratory symptoms
  • Fever (≥100.4◦F or 38.0◦C)
  •  Rash

Response to "Yes" Answers

Patients who answer "yes" to recent travel and acute illness questions should be placed in a private room until evaluated by a health professional. Follow infection prevention precautions based on their symptoms and your facility's protocol.

For Patients that Report Recent Travel and Acute Symptoms

To ensure a comprehensive understanding of the situation, a more in-depth assessment is necessary, including the patient’s

  • Travel itinerary
  • Underlying illnesses
  • Severity of illness
  • Recent exposure to potential infections

By following this systematic approach to screening and triage, healthcare providers can gather crucial information, enabling them to make informed decisions and provide targeted care for patients.

Screening and Infection Control

These are examples of best practices for robust and informed screening, triage, and infection control for travel related infections.

Clinical Evaluation

Effective clinical evaluation involves a thorough examination of patient symptoms, medical history, travel history, exposure history and diagnostic data, ensuring a comprehensive understanding that forms the foundation for informed decision making and personalized treatment plans.

Utilize resources such as the CDC’s Yellow Book and CDC Traveler’s Health below for more information.  

Healthcare Readiness

During the 2014-16 Western Africa Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a tiered healthcare model to identify and manage patients with suspect and confirmed special pathogens.

In Washington, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane was designated by the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) as one of 1the Region 10 Emerging Special Pathogen Treatment Centers serving Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska.

Community Resources and Support

For a robust response to travel-related health concerns, collaboration and support from community resources are vital. Engage with local health jurisdictions, healthcare coalitions, and other community links to strengthen the collective response. These entities play a crucial role in information dissemination, coordination, and ensuring a cohesive approach to managing health issues related to travel.


Beyond the specific focus areas, additional resources contribute to a well-rounded understanding of travel-related health considerations. These resources serve as valuable additions to your toolkit for addressing a spectrum of travel-related health scenarios.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact