Appendix C: Death During Travel

Appendix C: Death During Travel is a topic covered in the CDC Yellow Book.

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Death of a friend, relative, or coworker can be immensely distressing. The situation is aggravated when death occurs abroad, where grieving people may be unfamiliar with local processes, language, and culture. Whether dealing with the death locally or from their home country, next of kin could face large, unanticipated costs, and labor-intensive administrative steps. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the dead, some countries may require an autopsy. Besides relatives, sources of support include the local consulate or embassy, travel insurance provider, tour operator, faith-based and aid organizations, and the deceased’s employer. There likely will need to be an official identification of the body. A body can be identified by witness statements of those who knew the person well, analyzing DNA samples, checking fingerprints, reviewing dental radiographs, or inspecting surgical implants.

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Death of a friend, relative, or coworker can be immensely distressing. The situation is aggravated when death occurs abroad, where grieving people may be unfamiliar with local processes, language, and culture. Whether dealing with the death locally or from their home country, next of kin could face large, unanticipated costs, and labor-intensive administrative steps. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the dead, some countries may require an autopsy. Besides relatives, sources of support include the local consulate or embassy, travel insurance provider, tour operator, faith-based and aid organizations, and the deceased’s employer. There likely will need to be an official identification of the body. A body can be identified by witness statements of those who knew the person well, analyzing DNA samples, checking fingerprints, reviewing dental radiographs, or inspecting surgical implants.

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