The incidence of infectious diseases preventable by vaccines is generally higher in foreign countries than in the United States. Thus, an increased risk of acquiring these diseases exists for US citizens traveling abroad. In addition, the importation of these infectious disease agents into the United States from both returning citizens and other international travelers is an ever-present threat. The increasing documentation of the importations of measles into the United States (p 2129) is a reflection of these problems.
Requirements and recommendations for use of vaccines for travelers leaving the United States are based in part on their increased risk to these diseases during their foreign travel, but the primary purpose of international requirements is to prevent the international spread of diseases. This is the rationale behind the formulation of the International Health Regulations (IHR) pertaining to vaccination certificate requirements.1 Unfortunately, many countries, including some that are signatories of and
Chin J. Vaccine Requirements and Recommendations for International Travelers. JAMA. 1982;248(17):2163–2164. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330170067034
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