Death during international travel concerns several levels of the travel industry. In addition to the immediate effects for the traveler, their family and friends, the nature of travel-related mortality has important implications for pretravel health advisors and providers of medical care services.
The Consular Affairs Bureau, Foreign Affairs Canada provides information and assistance to Canadian civilians abroad. Beginning in 1995, the Consular Management and Operations System tracked Canadian deaths abroad notifications. The annual data for 1996 to 2004 was extracted for sex, age, and cause of death by location for all reports received.
There were 2,410 reported deaths in Canadians abroad; reported sex was 32% female and 68% male, average age of 61.7 and 60.4 years, respectively. Recorded causes of death: natural (1,762), accidental (450), suicide (92), and murder (106). Country of death reflected the pattern of Canadian international travel for recreation, business, and ancestral linkages. Average age of natural death (66 years) distinguished it from all other causes of death: accidental (45), suicide (41), and murder (43).
Natural causes and suicide deaths may be anticipated or planned to occur abroad. The risk of death may be mitigated through personal knowledge and medical assessment and prevention strategies. Deaths due to vaccine-preventable diseases, exotic and infectious diseases were rare in this population. Consular services may be able to provide various types of support. Local laws and customs, as well as international regulations in health and quarantine govern other responsibilities such as funeral services and repatriation of the deceased to Canada.