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Health information that travels with you

While books provide a convenient reference, they don’t work well in every situation. We’ve recently adapted The Yellow Book as an iPhone application (or ‘app’), so we asked a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the importance of accessing information anytime.

By Megan Crawley O’Sullivan, MPH


Imagine you’re a health care provider, taking the subway to work. You suddenly remember that your first patient of the day is preparing for a trip overseas. You want to prepare for this pre-travel consultation, but all your reference books are at the office and you won’t have time once you get there.

Now imagine you are the traveler, picking up last-minute supplies at the store while you wait for your prescription to be filled. You know that your doctor recommended buying bug spray for your trip, but you can’t remember why or which kind. There are so many options and different ingredients. How are you supposed to choose?

Without immediate access to information, the health of this traveler is put at risk. While the US Government provides frequent updates on health recommendations for international travel, ensuring that the right people have the right information at the right time is a struggle.

How many cases of malaria could have been prevented with the latest disease risk maps? How many travelers didn’t get accurate information on the area they’re visiting?

As people become more mobile, the health of travelers and those with whom they interact is more vulnerable without the proper precautions. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we update the Health Information for International Travel (commonly referred to as The Yellow Book) biennially, yet we realize this still isn’t enough. It’s essential to address physicians offering pre- and post-travel health care as they juggle busy schedules. We must give travelers exploring the globe the opportunity to make informed decisions about their health.

Most people think of medical technology as PET scans and blood tests — ways to detect and solve problems. But new ways to convey information are a crucial part of how medicine is evolving. As knowledge can be shared and accessed more easily, doctors’ practices and their patients lives transform.

Megan Crawley O’Sullivan , MPH is a Health Communications Specialist in the Travelers’ Health Branch, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC Health Information for International Travel 2012 (The Yellow Book) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and edited by Gary W. Brunette is now available as a mobile application for iPhone.



For decades, health care professionals and travelers alike have relied on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s user-friendly Health Information for International Travel (commonly referred to as The Yellow Book) as a trusted reference to stay abreast of the most up-to-date health recommendations for international travel. For the first time, OUP and CDC are releasing a mobile app version of The Yellow Book, available on iPhone and for purchase in the App Store. Now you can access this information anytime, anywhere, directly from your mobile device. Built by MARTEAU, Inc. and Oxford University Press.

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Recent Comments

  1. Sarah

    Looks like an excellent app for travelers whose utmost priority is their health.

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