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After You Return

Returning from travel abroad 

A medical exam is usually not necessary once you return home after routine travel for short amounts of time. The CDC has no official guidelines for screening international travelers who do not show any symptoms of a disease except in special populations, such as refugees or international adoptees.  

However, in certain circumstances, it is advisable to be seen by your healthcare provider. Those circumstances include:

  • People who have fever, diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice, urinary problems, skin or genital infections. Also, those who have flu-like symptoms shortly after returning from travel should have a medical exam immediately.

  • After visiting a malaria-risk area, people who develop a fever, flu-like symptoms, or become ill while traveling or within a year after returning home, should see a healthcare provider immediately for medical care.

  • People with known high-risk exposures that are linked to the transmission of certain agents, even if there are no current symptoms.  

  • People who have engaged in casual unprotected sex or have received an injection, a tattoo, or body piercing may be screened for specific diseases.  

  • People who suffer from chronic diseases, such as HIV or AIDS, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and/or liver disease should talk with their healthcare provider for recommendations regarding medical care after returning home.   

  • Having a medical exam after staying abroad many months or longer is advised. Although certain diseases do not develop immediately after travel, some may appear within a few weeks. Anyone who becomes ill after returning from extended travel abroad should contact his or her healthcare provider immediately.

There is always the possibility that a person who has been traveling has contracted an unusual disease. It could be one with symptoms that do not become evident until many months following exposure (for example, malaria). Talk with your healthcare provider for more information.

Online Medical Reviewer: Kolbus, Karin, RN, DNP, COHN-S
Online Medical Reviewer: Lentnek, Arnold, MD
Last Review Date: 9/1/2016
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