Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings-International Travel-Related Measures

Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 May;26(5):961-966. doi: 10.3201/eid2605.190993. Epub 2020 May 17.


International travel-related nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), which can include traveler screening, travel restrictions, and border closures, often are included in national influenza pandemic preparedness plans. We performed systematic reviews to identify evidence for their effectiveness. We found 15 studies in total. Some studies reported that NPIs could delay the introduction of influenza virus. However, no available evidence indicated that screening of inbound travelers would have a substantial effect on preventing spread of pandemic influenza, and no studies examining exit screening were found. Some studies reported that travel restrictions could delay the start of local transmission and slow international spread, and 1 study indicated that small Pacific islands were able to prevent importation of pandemic influenza during 1918-19 through complete border closure. This limited evidence base indicates that international travel-related NPIs would have limited effectiveness in controlling pandemic influenza and that these measures require considerable resources to implement.

Keywords: border closure; entry screening; influenza; nonpharmaceutical interventions; pandemic; public health; quarantine; respiratory diseases; travel restrictions; vaccine-preventable diseases; viruses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype*
  • Influenza, Human* / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human* / prevention & control
  • Pacific Islands
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Travel
  • Travel-Related Illness