No rationale for travel restrictions

As of 1st May 2009, WHO does not recommend travel restrictions related to the swine flu outbreak: “Limiting travel and imposing travel restrictions would have very little effect on stopping the virus from spreading, but would be highly disruptive to the global community.”

The statement points out that both mathematical modelling and the historical records of previous influenza pandemics show that restricting travel has almost no benefit in stopping the spread of disease. Influenza A(H1N1) has now been confirmed in many parts of the world, including the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The focus now is to minimize the impact of the virus by rapid diagnosis and appropriate medical care. Identifying the signs and symptoms of influenza in travellers is not effective in reducing spread as the virus can be transmitted from person to person before the onset of symptoms. But it can help with monitoring and treatment.

Travellers can protect themselves and others by following this simple advice which can limit the spread of many communicable diseases, not just influenza: if you are ill, delay your travel and if you fall ill after returning home, seek medical advice.

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