Whenever word of an outbreak of influenza or some other disease hits the airwaves, there will be plenty of news going around about worst-case-scenarios. TV newscasts will show you over and over again the few people that are suffering. They will show hospitals stockpiling medications and schools and restaurants closing.
With all that suffering, and with the disease spreading, should you still travel? Should you even leave you house!?!
Stop and think... did the newscasts mention that those schools and restaurants are closed as a precaution, not because everyone there was sick?
We don't want to make light of any disease outbreak. The first thing travelers need to do is to remain calm and stay informed. Each outbreak is serious, and each one has caused deaths for a few. But each disease outbreak needs to be evaluated for where you are going and what you will be doing. We don't think you should necessarily panic and cancel a trip.
The headlines scream the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the health alert status to Level 5. That sounds terrible, doesn't it?
But wait... what that means is that human-to-human contact has occurred in more than one country. That happens every year with the ordinary flu.
Even if the WHO raised the alert to Level 6 what happens? The headlines will trumpet something like ... Highest Threat Level - The Pandemic Phase... But again, it pays to stop and consider what that really means. What it tells you is that human-to-human contact has occurred in more than one global region.... more than one continent. This does not mean everyone is getting it.
Even when a "state of emergency" is declared somewhere, it does not mean the whole country is sick. Nations declare a state of emergency when they need to get access to money and other resources to respond to what is happening, so they can move more quickly to stop the disease outbreak.
In the past, some of the diseases that were making headlines were Bird Flu, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), and HIV-AIDS. Most travelers were not affected. (Not even those of us who got close to birds.)
We went to Southeast Asia during the Bird Flu outbreak. We did consult with our travel medicine doctor. He made sure our yearly influenza vaccinations were up to date, and gave us a prescription for Tamiflu. He told us to wash our hands often... and use a hand sanitizer when we couldn't, and to exercise caution and good hygiene as always.
We did go to visit a farm in Cambodia, but since we didn't go snuffling bird feathers, we felt we were OK. The worst thing that happened was that there were no eggs for breakfast and even cooked chicken was off the menu. That's not something that would keep us home.
I know that might sound a little facetious, but what we want to emphasize is that there is no need to panic. We believe that travel is good for you and for a healthy global economy.
We'll say it one more time, we're not medical experts, but we think you can still travel during disease outbreaks if you stay informed and exercise proper caution. In the most extreme case, you might have to change your itinerary, but we believe you can still have a great trip... somewhere... just choose wisely.
Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it! Judy and Mark
Search our site for a destination or travel tip.
Hotel and B&B Tips l Packing Lists
Go from Disease Outbreaks to MouseToursTravels Home Page
Privacy and Legal Policy
Use one of the handy "share this page" buttons below. Thanks, Judy and Mark
New! CommentsHave your say about what you just read! Did it help with your travel planning and preparation? Eager to leave on that next vacation? Please leave your tips or comments in the box below.
How about a website of your own...
... work for yourself ... or...
Exercise your brain in retirement.
Follow Your Passion
Who knows where it will take you?
(Look around at where it's taken us!)
Click below to start your own journey
Like Our Site Top Left
Like Our Fanpage Below