G.8.1 Occupational Health

International Labour Organisation (ILO)/International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Guidelines on the medical examinations of seafarers (30.9.2011) www.ilo.int and the concurrent national guidelines of maritime authorities.

These Guidelines document standards for the pre-employment fitness examinations of seafarers. Gastrointestinal diseases, Tuberculosis, HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, Hepatitis (A,B,C etc.) are specified in the document.

World Health Organisation (WHO), International Medical Guide for Ships, including the ship´s medicine chest. 3rd ed. World Health Organization - ‎2007.

This is a guide primarily aimed at the officer responsible for medical care on board a ship without a doctor. In addition it is useful for shipping companies, all other seafarers, ship supplying pharmacies, Telemedical assistance services (TMAS) and maritime authorities.

The chapters on infectious diseases in general and sexually transmitted diseases are detailed. It is especially useful for the treatment of Malaria and for infection control measures on board and includes cross-references to the International Health regulations 2005. 

There are several recognised, equivalent national guides for seafarers that include equipment lists and information on infectious diseases, for example:

G.8.2 Cruise ships

CDC Yellow Book

(online resource yearly updates) wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook

An up to date resource for clinicians giving pretravel advice.

The European Manual for Hygiene Standards and Communicable Disease Surveillance on Passenger ships; 2.4.2016


This manual outlines hygiene standards based on European Union (EU) legislation and best practice guidelines for passenger ships sailing within European waters. The manual is intended for passenger shipping companies and public health inspectors in European ports, who are responsible for passenger ship inspections. Specific guidelines are given for dealing with Influenza-Like Illness (ILI), general considerations for influenza pandemics, vaccine-preventable diseases, Legionnaires’ disease and gastroenteritis.

CDC Vessel Sanitation Program Manuals


This consists of an Operations Manual and Construction Guidelines to assist the cruise industry in management to prevent and control the introduction, transmission, and spread of gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses on cruise.

G.8.3 International Health Regulations 2005

Drawing on the experiences of the 2003 SARS CoV1 epidemic, the WHO adopted the current 2005 International Health regulations (IHR). 

In line with the IHR 2005 WHO published several guidance documents for ships and points of entry (Ports):

G.8.4 Guide to ship sanitation (third edition), 2011


The guide is a useful reference material for regulators, ship operators and ship builders, as well as a checklist for understanding and assessing the potential health impacts of projects involving the design of ships. There is a detailed chapter on water sanitation.


G.8.5 WHO Handbook for inspection of ships and issuance of ship sanitation certificates 2011


The handbook is intended as reference material for port health officers, regulators, ship operators and other competent authorities in charge of implementing the IHR (2005) at ports and on ships. It provides guidance for preparing and performing the inspection, completing the certificates and applying public health measures within the framework of the IHR (2005).

G.8.6 WHO Handbook for management of public health events on board ships 2016


This includes a literature review of common  infectious diseases events and summaries of disease specific measures for the following diseases: Anthrax, Botulism, Cholera, Dengue, Diphtheria, Gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A, B, E, Malaria, Measles, Meningococcal Meningitis, Mumps, Pertussis, Plague, SARS, Rabies, Scabies, Shingles, Staphylococcal poisoning, Tetanus, Trichinosis and Yellow Fever.

G.8.7 Others

Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, edited by David L. Heymann, MD Publisher: APHA Press

A very useful, practical and detailed book for communicable disease control.