Respiratory infection Risk Factors


Travelers to tropical zones are at risk all year. Exposure to an infected person from another hemisphere, such as on a cruise ship or package tour, can lead to an outbreak of influenza at any time or place.

Air-pressure changes during ascent and descent of aircraft can facilitate the development of sinusitis and otitis media. Direct airborne transmission aboard commercial aircraft is unusual because of frequent air recirculation and filtration, although influenza, tuberculosis, measles, and other diseases have resulted from transmission in modern aircraft. Transmission may occur between passengers who are seated near one another, usually through direct contact or droplets. Intermingling of large numbers of people in locations such as airports, cruise ships, and hotels can also facilitate transmission of respiratory pathogens.

The air quality at many travel destinations may not be optimal, and exposure to sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and particulate matter is associated with a number of health risks, including respiratory tract inflammation, exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, impaired lung function, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

Certain travelers have a higher risk for respiratory tract infection, including children, the elderly, and people with comorbid pulmonary conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The risk for tuberculosis among most travelers is low.

Source: CDC Yellow Book 20161

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  1. Source: CDC Yellow Book 2016: travel/ yellowbook/ 2016/ the-pre-travel-consultation/ respiratory-infections

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.