Summary of WHO measures related to international travel
5 July 2003
WHO no longer recommends the restriction of travel to any areas.
Advice to travellers
As the current global outbreak of SARS comes under control, the most important message for international travellers is to continue to be aware of the main symptoms of SARS: high fever (> 38° Celsius, >100.4° Fahrenheit), dry cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties. Persons who experience these symptoms and who, in the last 10 days have been in an area which has experienced a recent outbreak of SARS (See archives of Areas with recent local transmission) are advised to contact a doctor.
WHO recommended measures to limit the international spread of SARS
In the absence of effective drugs or a vaccine for SARS, control of this disease relies on the rapid identification of cases and their appropriate management, including the isolation of suspect and probable cases and the management of their close contacts. (See Management of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). These measures have allowed the outbreak of SARS to be controlled and prevented imported cases from spreading the disease to others.
During the outbreak, to reduce the risk that travellers would carry the SARS virus to new areas, WHO made recommendations regarding the screening of passengers leaving certain areas and also the postponement of all but essential travel to certain more severely affected areas. All recommendations to postpone travel have now been lifted. Recommendations for the screening of departing passengers have now ceased to apply as there are no longer any areas with recent local transmission of SARS.
Travellers should be aware that as an additional measure of precaution and to build public confidence, some areas have decided to continue to implement certain travel related measures such as the screening of travellers for fever or providing travellers with health information.
Travellers are advised to contact their doctors or national health authorities for supplementary information as individual countries may adapt WHO recommendations to take into account national considerations. Many national health authorities have established web sites with excellent information.