Although most international trips, including students’ study abroad programs, were put on hold in 2020, these might resume this year after the COVID-19 vaccine reaches student populations. Reproductive health providers can help young women prepare for the contraceptive needs and uncertainties of travel. A new study revealed that young female travelers overwhelmingly say they will be abstinent during their travels, but their actual experience is the opposite.
International travel carries a risk of colonization by antimicrobial-resistant intestinal flora. The use of a quinolone, but not a macrolide, during travel further increases the risk of acquisition of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae.
In a retrospective study of American military women involving 50 treated with atovaquone-proguanil and 156 exposed to mefloquine, no increase in risk of fetal loss or adverse infant outcomes was identified. Atovaquone-proguanil seems safe for use in pregnancy, but data are limited.
Infectious illness is common in travelers from other countries visiting the United States. Skin and soft tissue infections, respiratory infections, and gastrointestinal illness are most likely, but specific geographic illnesses such as Lyme disease also occur.
Although air travel has been linked to transmission of respiratory infections, the actual risk of becoming infected during air travel is low. The risk is greatest, though, when seated within about two seats/rows of a contagious individual. Walking around the cabin increases risk.