The CDC’s latest annual report on notifiable, infectious diseases, published in late October, provides an update on travel-related diseases in the US. The report compiles data for 2013 sent to the CDC by 57 state, city, and territorial health departments. Among other findings, it indicates that Giardia is the most commonly diagnosed pathogen among international travelers returning to the US, a good reason to remind our clients of the importance of selecting safe food and water during their trips. Dengue epidemics in the Americas and the Caribbean are considered a cause of the latest rise in the number of travel-associated cases of dengue, which totaled 794 in 2013. Four of the top five travel destinations of individuals diagnosed with dengue were Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Haiti.
As we recommend vaccinations to our clients, we can share with them that half of all hepatitis A infections now occur in adults traveling outside the US. The situation is similar with typhoid fever: about 75% of cases in the US are associated with international travel. The greatest risk for infection is found among travelers visiting family and friends in countries where typhoid fever is endemic.
The CDC report contains tables listing cases of notifiable diseases in each state, and in different age, sex, and racial and ethnic groups, so there is much information to share with clients on travel-related diseases in other individuals who match them in these characteristics. There are also maps of cases of disease across the country, and figures on disease trends in recent decades that we can share with clients.
There is useful and fascinating information on infectious diseases in the US on every page of this 119 page report. For this and other excellent publications on infectious diseases, visit the CDC website on publications, and subscribe to receive them in print or in electronic form: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015, October 23). Summary of notifiable infectious diseases and conditions – United States, 2013. (MMWR Vol. 62 No. 53).
Pauline Tither, DNP CNP