Being a healthy traveller involves communication in more than one sense of the word.
Health administrations have a responsibility to prevent illness associated with international travel and trade without undue interference to these inevitable activities. Past experience of travel-associated disease transmission should determine epidemiologically justified and cost-effective preventive measures.
The aeroplane transmits disease faster but should not become the scapegoat for travel-associated ill health. Viral influenza can spread rapidly because of air travel but the latter's role in transmission of diseases such as cholera and smallpox in the past or viral haemorrhagic fevers in the future may not be clear cut.
Surveillance activities are essential to enable the earliest possible detection of disease because measures taken with the intention of keeping a disease out of a country cannot be foolproof. Frank and rapid exchange of information between national epidemiological services is essential for effective control of international spread of diseases.
National health administrations have an obligation to provide travellers with reliable information. A specific programme co-opting the medical profession, travel agencies of every form and the media is necessary.
The World Health Organisation should collaborate with national health administrations in the prevention of disease associated with travel.