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Healthline Connects

Travel Abroad - Watch the Road


The greatest threat to Americans traveling abroad isn't an exotic tropical disease like malaria. According to US State Department data, the number one cause of death of US citizens traveling internationally is motor vehicle accidents (MVA). Infectious diseases account for only a 2% of deaths while traveling. Road traffic accidents accounted for 34% of all deaths while traveling, followed by homicide (17%) and drowning (13%).

Men die in far greater numbers than women do while traveling. Men account for almost 75% of deaths in US citizens traveling abroad. Injuries and violence are a greater threat to travelers than infectious diseases. Some tips for safe travel:
  • Use safety belts and helmets while riding in cars and motorbikes
  • Minimize alcohol intake - alcohol is a risk factor for injuries
  • Be alert when crossing streets
  • When planning adventure travel in low-income countries, be aware that trauma facilities comparable to US trauma centers may not exist
  • Use larger vehicles and larger aircraft for travel
Homicide was the leading cause of death for US tourists in low-income nations like Haiti, Columbia, Honduras and Guatemala. Be aware of your surroundings and again, avoid intoxication. Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death while traveling and may be due to social isolation, substance abuse and culture shock.


Thank you joiseyshowaa for use of photo US tourists in Belize.
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