The Travel Health and Vaccine Specialists

Health Alert


Super Typhoon Yutu

Updated November 1, 2018

Key points
Because of the typhoon that crossed the Northern Mariana Islands on October 25, travelers to the area may experience serious health and safety risks, and medical care may not be available.
CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the Northern Mariana Islands.
If you must travel to the area, protect yourself by following CDC’s recommendations (below).
What is the current situation?
On October 25, 2018, Super Typhoon Yutu crossed the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Significant damage from the hurricane has caused problems with water supply, sanitation, food supply, electricity, transportation, shelter, communications, security, medical care, and mosquito control.

Contaminated drinking water and reduced access to safe water, food, and shelter in some areas may create conditions for outbreaks of infectious diseases such as leptospirosis, dengue, hepatitis A, typhoid, vibriosis, and influenza.

In addition to safety hazards caused by debris and unstable buildings, there are serious health and safety risks, medical care may not be available, and visitors could further strain local resources.

What can travelers do to protect themselves?
CDC recommends that US residents avoid all nonessential travel to the Northern Mariana Islands. If you must travel to the area, protect yourself by following the health advice of CDC (below) before, during, and after your trip.

Before your trip:
Make an appointment with a travel medicine specialist or your health care provider ideally at least a month before you leave to get needed vaccines and medicines, including vaccines against tetanus, hepatitis A, and seasonal flu. As a result of damaged infrastructure and compromised sanitation, the risk of infectious diseases is increased after a natural disaster.
Pack a travel health kit with your prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines (enough to last your whole trip, plus a little extra), first aid supplies, and your health insurance card.
Authorized humanitarian aid workers may need to pack additional items, including personal protective equipment (PPE), which may be scarce at their destination.
Prepare for the unexpected.
Leave copies of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home, in case they are lost during travel.
Buy travel health and medical evacuation insurance in case you need to be medically evacuated. If you are injured or get sick during your trip, medical care is likely to be unavailable.
During your trip:
Prevent illness and injury.
Deaths after a natural disaster are most often due to blunt trauma, crush-related injuries, and drowning.
Use caution around downed power lines, water-affected electrical outlets, and interrupted gas lines.
Use caution around generators and other sources of carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled.
Avoid driving through moving water.
Avoid direct contact with human remains. (If you are a relief worker helping with human remains, see the Interim Health Recommendations for Workers Who Handle Human Remains After a Disaster.)
Avoid bug bites.
Diseases spread by mosquitoes, such as dengue, are found in the Northern Mariana Islands.
Follow food and water safety guidelines.
Water and food contamination can lead to illness such as typhoid fever and hepatitis A. See Food and Water Concerns after a natural disaster.
Avoid floodwater.
Avoid driving through floodwater—it may be deeper than you think.
Avoid swallowing floodwater or water from lakes, rivers, and swamps. During and after a disaster, water can get contaminated with bacteria, sewage, agricultural or industrial waste, chemicals, and other things that can cause illness or death.
Avoid wading in flooded areas, especially if you have any cuts or abrasions. If a cut becomes red, swells, or oozes, seek immediate medical attention.
Wear protective clothing, especially footwear, if you must wade in floodwater or other areas that might be contaminated.
Avoid animal exposures.
Avoid stray or frightened animals. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, wash out the wound and seek medical help immediately.
Rescuing stray dogs or cats poses potential health hazards, like rabies, to both humans and animals. Dogs and cats imported to the United States must meet CDC requirements.
Avoid mold contamination.
If cleaning out a building damaged by flooding, wear protective clothing and PPE, such as gloves, goggles, and a fit-tested N95 respirator.
For more information on flooding and mold clean-up, see CDC’s Mold website.
If you feel sick during your trip—
Get medical care if you are injured or sick, especially if you have a fever.
Some diseases, such as leptospirosis, can be treated with antibiotics but can be fatal if left untreated.
If you get a cut or wound, wash it out, cover it with a bandage, and see a health care provider if it looks like it’s becoming infected.
For more information about medical care abroad, see Getting Health Care Abroad.
If you get sick during your trip, avoid contact with other people and do not travel until you are well.
After your trip:
If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic. Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.
If you are having a hard time coping after your trip, you may need to see a mental health professional. See Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event.
For more information, see Getting Sick after Travel.
Traveler Information
Health Information for Travelers to the Northern Mariana Islands
Humanitarian Aid Workers Information
Natural Disasters
Clinician Information
Humanitarian Aid Workers in CDC Health Information for International Travel (“Yellow Book”)
Page created: October 30, 2018
Page last updated: October 30, 2018
Page last reviewed: October 30, 2018
Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ)