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After You Return

Returning from travel abroad 

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

However, in certain cases, it's a good idea to be seen by your healthcare provider. Those cases 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 get an injection, a tattoo, or body piercing may be screened for specific diseases.  

  • People who have a chronic diseases, such as HIV or AIDS, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or liver disease should talk with their healthcare provider for recommendations about medical care after returning home.   

  • Having a medical exam after staying abroad many months or longer is advised. Although certain diseases don't develop right away 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 don't appear until many months after exposure (for example, malaria). Talk with your healthcare provider for more information.

Online Medical Reviewer: Barry Zingman MD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Wanda Taylor RN PhD
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2019
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