What you need to know before you travel abroad

Child's hand holding US passport. Map background. Ready for traveling. Open world.

Every year, millions of Americans participate in international travel and even more come to visit the US from around the world. The exciting parts of international travel are the cultural experiences, opportunities to see beautiful sites, and the chance to eat local foods. Unfortunately, statistics indicate that about half of all international travelers will experience an illness or injury either during their travel or recognize signs and symptoms of illness after returning home. Some of these illnesses can be self-limiting and resolve on their own, but many have potential to disrupt travel plans and result in the need for medical treatment either abroad or upon return.

The goal of the physicians, nurse practitioners, and nurses at the University of Louisville Physicians’ Vaccine & International Travel Center is to provide high quality and personalized approaches to safe international travel. These activities include pre-travel counseling, vaccine administration and provision of medication to help ensure your trip is a safe and healthy one. These professionals operate the only clinic in Kentucky staffed by physicians, nurse practitioners, and nurses board certified in infectious diseases, tropical medicine, family practice, infection control, and with certificates in Travel Health recognized by the international Society of Travel Medicine. Their goal is to provide cutting edge pre-travel counseling and if needed, in-travel consultation and post-travel consultation and medical care.

The Vaccine & International Travel Center maintains all FDA approved vaccines and participates in special programs that provide access to difficult to find vaccines as well as vaccines involved in clinical trials. The team of experts will work with you to personalize a plan of care for you so you have access to vaccines that are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as those that may be required by your travel destination. They will also work with you to provide preventive and treatment medication for conditions such as malaria, travelers’ diarrhea, and altitude illness.

Travelers participating in mission trips or medical mission work may have other special needs such as HIV post-exposure prophylaxis. Our team consists of specialists and experts in the prevention and treatment of HIV and are available to provide personalized plans for both HIV pre-exposure prevention (PrEP) and HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Adventurous travelers may have other unique needs as may business travelers and students studying abroad.

For more information or to schedule an appointment so we can provide you with individualized care, you can call 502-852-6464. Initial information regarding travel health can also be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We look forward to being your choice for international travel medicine.

Safe travels!

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About Ruth Carrico, Ph.D.

Dr. Ruth Carrico is an infectious disease specialist with UofL Physicians – Vaccine & International Travel Center and the 550 Clinic. Her specialty is infection disease, and her areas of interest include infection prevention and control, immunization, international health and travel, vaccine research, refugee health and global health. She has a bachelor’s degree from Norton Memorial Infirmary School of Nursing and Bellarmine University School of Nursing. She received her master’s degree from Webster University, her master’s degree in nursing with a concentration as a family nurse practitioner from Northern Kentucky University and her Ph.D. from California Coast University. She is a member of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, Kentucky Nurses Association and the American Nurses Association.

All posts by Ruth Carrico, Ph.D.