Travel health includes all aspects of disease related to travel. While many of these activities fall out of ECDC’s scope, others related to the detection, verification and notification of possible communicable disease health threats are part of ECDC's mandate. ECDC experiences have proved that many of these threats are related to travel of people, either holiday makers or migratory movements. Moreover, imported communicable diseases pose a threat not only to Europeans travelling abroad but also to vulnerable, and for many diseases immunologically naïve, European population exposed to returned travellers carrying contagious disease. Although secondary cases of many imported infections in Europe remain rare given the absence of essential vectors in the life cycle of organisms and good sanitary conditions, new circumstances such as the introduction of vectors, migratory waves and intensified international travel make onward transmission of imported infections more likely, as we have seen with Chikungunya fever.
To prevent infectious diseases during travel by providing up to date advice on risk and risk reduction, travel health professionals need to be updated on the changing epidemiology of infectious disease risks to the traveller. ECDC through its Epidemic Intelligence activities, detects verifies, analyzes, assesses and investigates worldwide outbreaks of disease that may represent a threat to travellers and be relevant to those giving travel advice, providing up to date information.