Travel Health & Medicine
Travelers should note that some countries may require vaccinations for entry and that any destination will have health and dietary considerations. In order to make sure you are well informed about these issues, refer to the resources listed here and follow up with a travel medicine provider well in advance of your travel.
Boston University and Boston Medical Center offer immunizations, education, and specialized medical expertise for people planning travel of all types — leisure, business, relocation, study abroad, volunteer service, and international adoptions.
Faculty and staff can learn more about services at the BMC Travel Clinic (more information below). Travelers are advised to make an appointment 4 or more weeks in advance of travel. However, if last minute travel is necessary, an appointment should still be made.
All employees and students are strongly advised to verify their health care coverage prior to travel. Check with your health care insurance provider to ensure that pre-travel vaccinations and overseas medical care are covered, and to receive advice on health care abroad. Please refer to the Insurance section of the Toolkit for more information.
General resources for travelers
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a list of required and recommended vaccinations. This guidance and other health precautions may be found on the Travelers’ Health page of the CDC web site.
- Fact Sheets on common diseases, responding to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents and other health issues, including pandemic influenza, can be found at the U.S. State Department web site.
- Visit the web site of the World Health Organization for additional information about infectious diseases abroad.
- The International Society of Travel Medicine web site provides information about travel medicine providers in other locations.
Travel medicine for faculty and staff
The Travel Clinic at Boston Medical Center provides both pre- and post-travel medical services, including:
- Itinerary-specific, pre-travel consultations and immunizations for children and adults (including families), including yellow fever, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, meningococcal, rabies, and Japanese encephalitis vaccines.
- All other recommended vaccines (e.g., tetanus, measles/mumps/rubella, polio, influenza and hepatitis B) are available as well.
- Advice on prevention of vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and chikungunya virus infection.
- Counseling on the prevention and treatment of traveler’s diarrhea.
- Advise on special issues such as medical care abroad, altitude sickness, and jet lag.
- Education on ways to avoid rare tropical diseases such as schistosomiasis, filariasis, leishmaniasis, and rabies.
- Expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of tropical diseases acquired abroad including common disorders such as malaria or traveler’s diarrhea.
- Expertise in the evaluation and management of a range of parasitic infections including strongyloidiasis, schistosomiasis, filariasis, onchocerciasis, leishmaniasis and rare bacterial infections such as leptospirosis and brucellosis.
Call the Travel Clinic’s hotline number: (617) 414-VACC (8222) for appointments. Please be sure to plan in advance: appointments should be scheduled at least 2 weeks before travel. Longer, more complex itineraries require more advance scheduling – ideally 4 weeks or more before travel.
Travel medicine for students
The knowledgeable staff at BU’s Student Health Services (SHS) provides both pre- and post-travel medical services. Students traveling on BU study abroad or research trips should consult with their trip organizer to receive information about their group’s SHS travel medicine appointment. Students should schedule travel appointments at least one month before they plan to leave the country. Before going to Student Health Services for a travel-related concern, please download and complete the form located on the travel section of the SHS website.
Students should visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vaccinations page to learn which vaccines are recommended or required for their destination country. Student Health Services provides travel vaccines such as hepatitis-A, typhoid, and yellow fever, as well as routine vaccines. Students may also need to visit the travel clinic at BMC or elsewhere if they need vaccines such as rabies, Japanese encephalitis, or polio. SHS has a list of local travel clinics that can provide more extensive services when they are needed.
If students do not have their records of a recent physical exam on file, SHS is likely to ask that they return to have a physical exam done prior to travel. In this case, if the student is not covered by the Student Health Insurance Plan, they will be subject to a physical examination fee.