Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
|Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel|
|Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions|
|Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions|
Updated: April 10, 2014
What is the current situation?
Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Yolanda) hit the Philippines on November 8, 2013. Record wind speeds and forceful storm surges have caused considerable devastation throughout 41 provinces in the country. An estimated 9 million people have been affected, thousands have died and hundreds are still missing. (See Philippines’s official casualty list.) The numbers of deaths are expected to rise. Enormous international aid efforts are underway. Significant infrastructure damage has caused problems with sanitation, food supply, electricity, transportation, shelter, communications, security, and medical care.
CDC recommends that travelers to the Philippines take precautions to protect their health and safety. Travelers who are immune compromised or have medical needs should consider postponing travel.
What can travelers do to protect themselves?
Before your trip:
- Talk to your doctor or nurse about vaccines and medicines recommended for the Philippines.
- Pack a travel health kit. (Humanitarian workers may need to pack additional items.)
- Consider travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
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.
- Avoid stray or frightened animals. Seek medical help immediately if you are bitten or scratched by an animal and wash out the wound.
- Avoid driving through moving water.
- Avoid standing or wading in moving water to prevent being injured by debris or becoming trapped in the water.
- Wear appropriate sturdy footwear in all disaster-affected areas.
- 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.)
- Prevent mosquito bites:
Mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, and chikungunya are found in the Philippines.
- Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
- Use an appropriate insect repellent as directed.
- Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection. Use products with the following active ingredients:
- DEET (Products containing DEET include Off!, Cutter, Sawyer, and Ultrathon)
- Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin products containing picaridin include Cutter Advanced, Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus, and Autan [outside the US])
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD (Products containing OLE include Repel and Off! Botanicals)
- IR3535 (Products containing IR3535 include Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Expedition and SkinSmart)
- Always follow product directions and reapply as directed:
- If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
- Follow package directions when applying repellent on children. Avoid applying repellent to their hands, eyes, and mouth.
- Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself:
- Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See the product information to find out how long the protection will last.
- If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.
- Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
- Stay and sleep in screened or air conditioned rooms.
- Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
- Follow food and water safety guidelines:
- Food that is cooked and served hot
- Hard-cooked eggs
- Fruits and vegetables you have washed in clean water or peeled yourself
- Pasteurized dairy products
- Food served at room temperature
- Food from street vendors
- Raw or soft-cooked (runny) eggs
- Raw or undercooked (rare) meat or fish
- Unwashed or unpeeled raw fruits and vegetables
- Peelings from fruit or vegetables
- Condiments (such as salsa) made with fresh ingredients
- Unpasteurized dairy products
- ”Bushmeat” (monkeys, bats, or other wild game)
- Bottled water that is sealed (carbonated is safer)
- Water that has been disinfected (boiled, filtered, treated)
- Ice made with bottled or disinfected water
- Carbonated drinks
- Hot coffee or tea
- Pasteurized milk
- Tap or well water
- Ice made with tap or well water
- Drinks made with tap or well water (such as reconstituted juice)
- Flavored ice and popsicles
- Unpasteurized milk
- Practice hygiene and cleanliness:
- Wash your hands often.
- If soap and water aren’t available, clean your hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
- Try to avoid close contact, such as kissing, hugging, or sharing eating utensils or cups with people who are sick.
- Avoid flood water:
- Avoid swallowing flood waters or water from lakes, rivers, and swamps.
- Avoid wading in flooded areas, especially if you have any cuts or abrasions.
- Wear protective clothing, especially footwear, if you must wade in flood waters or other areas that might be contaminated.
- Talk to your health care provider about taking medicine to help prevent leptospirosis.
- Avoid mold contamination:
- If cleaning out a building destroyed by flooding, wear personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, goggles, and a tight-fitting approved N-95 respirator. Travelers should take sufficient PPE with them, as these may be scarce in the countries visited.
- Keep hands, skin, and clothing clean and free from mold-contaminated dust.
- If you feel sick during your trip—
- Talk to a doctor or nurse if you feel seriously ill, especially if you have a fever.
- For more information about medical care abroad, see Getting Health Care Abroad and a list of International Joint Commission-accredited facilities.
- Avoid contact with other people while you are sick.
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 your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.
- Malaria is always a serious disease and may be deadly. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.
- For more information, see Getting Sick after Travel.
- Natural Disasters & Environmental Hazards in CDC Health Information for International Travel -“Yellow Book”
- Hurricane Information for Health Care Professionals
- CDC responds to Typhoon in the Philippines
- Measles in the Philippines
- Travelers’ Health Destination webpage for the Philippines
- Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Situation Report
- U.S. Citizen Services--Department of State-Travel
- Humanitarian Aid Workers Information
- Hurricane Information for Response and Clean up Workers
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