General information

See also:

The information on these pages should be used to research health risks and to inform the pre-travel consultation. For advice regarding safety and security please check the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website.

Travellers should ideally arrange an appointment with their health professional at least four to six weeks before travel. However, even if time is short, an appointment is still worthwhile. This appointment provides an opportunity to assess health risks taking into account a number of factors including destination, medical history, and planned activities. For those with pre-existing health problems, an earlier appointment is recommended.

All travellers should ensure they have adequate travel health insurance.

A list of useful resources including advice on how to reduce the risk of certain health problems is available below.

Resources

Vaccine recommendations

Details of vaccination recommendations and requirements are provided below.

All Travellers

Travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK.  These vaccinations include for example measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and diphtheria-tetanus-polio vaccine.

Those who may be at increased risk of an infectious disease due to their work, lifestyle choice, or certain underlying health problems should be up to date with additional recommended vaccines. See the individual chapters of the ‘Green Book’ Immunisation against infectious disease for further details.

Certificate Requirements

There are no certificate requirements under International Health Regulations.

Most Travellers

The vaccines in this section are recommended for most travellers visiting this country.  Information on these vaccines can be found by clicking on the blue arrow.  Vaccines are listed alphabetically.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a viral infection transmitted through contaminated food and water or by direct contact with an infectious person. Symptoms are often mild or absent in young children, but the disease becomes more serious with advancing age.  Recovery can vary from weeks to months. Following hepatitis A illness immunity is lifelong.

Those at increased risk include travellers visiting friends and relatives, long-stay travellers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.

Prevention
All travellers should take care with personal, food and water hygiene.

Hepatitis A vaccination
As hepatitis A vaccine is well tolerated and affords long-lasting protection, it is recommended for all previously unvaccinated travellers.

Hepatitis A in brief

Tetanus

Tetanus is caused by a toxin released from Clostridium tetani and occurs worldwide.  Tetanus bacteria are present in soil and manure and may be introduced through open wounds such as a puncture wound, burn or scratch.

Prevention
Travellers should thoroughly clean all wounds and seek appropriate medical attention.

Tetanus vaccination
  • Travellers should have completed a primary vaccination course according to the UK schedule.
  • If travelling to a country where medical facilities may be limited, a booster dose of a tetanus-containing vaccine is recommended if the last dose was more than ten years ago even if five doses of vaccine have been given previously.

Country specific information on medical facilities may be found in the ‘health’ section of the FCO foreign travel advice website.

 Tetanus in brief

Some Travellers

The vaccines in this section are recommended for some travellers visiting this country. Information on when these vaccines should be considered can be found by clicking on the arrow. Vaccines are listed alphabetically.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral infection; it is transmitted by exposure to infected blood or body fluids. This mostly occurs during sexual contact or as a result of blood-to-blood contact (for example from contaminated equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing or body piercing procedures, and sharing of intravenous needles).   Mothers with the virus can also transmit the infection to their baby during childbirth.

Hepatitis B in Hong Kong
2% or more of the population are known or thought to be persistently infected with the hepatitis B virus (intermediate/high prevalence).

Prevention
Travellers should avoid contact with blood or body fluids. This includes:

  • avoiding unprotected sexual intercourse.
  • avoiding tattooing, piercing, public shaving,  and acupuncture (unless sterile equipment is used)
  • not sharing needles or other injection equipment.
  • following universal precautions if working in a medical/dental/high risk setting.

A sterile medical equipment kit may be helpful when travelling to resource poor areas.

Hepatitis B vaccination
Vaccination could be considered for all travellers, and is recommended for those whose activities or medical history put them at increased risk including:

  • those who may have unprotected sex.
  • those who may be exposed to contaminated needles through injecting drug use.
  • those who may be exposed to blood or body fluids through their work (e.g. health workers).
  • those who may be exposed to contaminated needles as a result of having medical or dental care e.g. those with pre-existing medical conditions and those travelling for medical care abroad including those intending to receive renal dialysis overseas.
  • long-stay travellers
  • those who are participating in contact sports.
  • families adopting children from this country.

Hepatitis B in brief

Japanese Encephalitis (JE)

Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection transmitted to humans from animals (mainly pigs and birds) by mosquitoes which typically breed in rice paddy fields, swamps and marshes.  These mosquitoes predominantly feed between dusk and dawn.

Those at increased risk include travellers who are staying for a month or longer during the transmission season, especially if travel will include rural areas with rice fields and marshland.

Travellers on shorter trips (typically less than a month), or trips that take place outside the peak transmission season  and those who restrict their visits to urban areas are usually considered to be at very low risk.

Japanese encephalitis in Hong Kong
JE rarely occurs in this country. The transmission season is typically April to October. Rarely cases in travellers are reported outside these months.

Prevention
All travellers should avoid mosquito bites particularly between dusk and dawn.

Japanese encephalitis vaccination
  • Vaccination is recommended for those whose activities put them at increased risk (see above).
  • Vaccination could be considered for those on shorter trips if the risk is considered to be sufficient e.g. those spending time in areas where the mosquito breeds such as rice fields or marshlands, or pig farming areas.

JE in brief

Rabies

Rabies is a viral infection which is usually transmitted following contact with the saliva of an infected animal most often via a bite, scratch or lick to an open wound or mucous membrane (such as on the eye, nose or mouth). Although many different animals can transmit the virus, worldwide most cases follow a bite or scratch from an infected dog. Bats are also an important source of infection in some countries.

Rabies symptoms can take some time to develop, but when they do the condition is almost always fatal.

The risk of exposure is increased by certain activities and length of stay (see below). Children are at increased risk as they are less likely to avoid contact with animals and to report a bite, scratch or lick.

Rabies in Hong Kong
Rabies has only been reported in wild animals in this country; therefore most travellers are considered to be at low risk for rabies. Bats may also carry rabies-like viruses in this country.

Prevention
  • Travellers should avoid contact with wild animals.  Rabies is preventable with prompt post-exposure treatment.
  • Following a possible exposure, wounds should be thoroughly cleansed and an urgent local medical assessment sought, even if the wound appears trivial. Although rabies has not been reported in domestic animals, it is still sensible to seek prompt medical advice if bitten or scratched by all animals.
  • Post-exposure treatment and advice should be in accordance with national guidelines.
Rabies vaccination
  • Pre-exposure vaccines are recommended for those who are at increased risk due to their work (e.g. laboratory staff working with the virus, those working with animals or health care workers who may be caring for infected patients).
  • Pre-exposure vaccines could be considered for those who are at increased risk of exposure to wild animals.

 Rabies in brief

Tuberculosis (TB)

TB is a bacterial infection transmitted most commonly by inhaling respiratory droplets from an infectious person. This is usually following prolonged or frequent close contact.

TB in Hong Kong
The average annual incidence of TB is greater than or equal to 40 cases per 100,000 population (further details).

Prevention
Travellers should avoid close contact with individuals known to have infectious pulmonary (lung) TB.

Those at risk during their work (such as healthcare workers) should take appropriate infection control precautions.

Tuberculosis (BCG) vaccination
According to current national guidance, BCG vaccine should be recommended for those at increased risk of developing severe disease and/or of exposure to TB infection. See Public Health England’s Immunisation against infectious disease, the ‘Green Book‘.

For travellers, BCG vaccine is also recommended for:

  • unvaccinated, children under 16 years of age, who are going to live for more than 3 months in this country. A tuberculin skin test is required prior to vaccination for all children from 6 years of age and may be recommended for some younger children.
  • unvaccinated, tuberculin skin test negative individuals under 35 years of age at risk due to their work such as healthcare workers, prison staff and vets. Healthcare workers may be vaccinated over the age of 35 years following a careful risk assessment.

There are specific contraindications associated with the BCG vaccine and health professionals must be trained to administer this vaccine intradermally (just under the top layer of skin).

Following administration, no further vaccines should be administered in the same limb for 3 months.

The BCG vaccine is given once only, booster doses are not recommended. Following administration, no further vaccines should be administered in the same limb for 3 months.

Tuberculosis in brief

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated food and water.  Previous typhoid illness may only partially protect against re-infection.

Travellers who will have access to safe food and water are likely to be at low risk. Those at increased risk include travellers visiting friends and relatives, frequent or long-stay travellers to areas where sanitation and food hygiene are likely to be poor.

Typhoid in Hong Kong
Typhoid fever is known or presumed to occur in this country.

Prevention
All travellers should take care with personal, food and water hygiene.

Typhoid vaccination
  • Both oral and injectable typhoid vaccinations are available, and vaccination is recommended for laboratory personnel who may handle the bacteria for their work.
  • Vaccination could be considered for those whose activities put them at increased risk (see above).

 Typhoid in brief

Malaria

  • There is no risk of malaria in Hong Kong; however, there is a malaria risk in some areas of mainland China.

Other risks

There are some risks that are relevant to all travellers regardless of destination. These may for example include road traffic and other accidents, diseases transmitted by insects or ticks, diseases transmitted by contaminated food and water, sexually transmitted infections, or health issues related to the heat or cold. The risk below may be present in all or part of the country.

Biting insects or ticks

Insect or tick bites can cause irritation and infections of the skin at the site of a bite. They can also spread certain diseases.

Diseases in Eastern Asia

There is a risk of insect or tick borne diseases in some areas of Eastern Asia.  This includes diseases such as chikungunya, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, leishmaniasis and scrub typhus.

Prevention

  • All travellers should avoid insect and tick bites day and night.
  • There are no vaccinations (or medications) to prevent these diseases.

Further information about specific insect or tick borne diseases for this country can be found, if appropriate on this page, in other sections of the country information pages and the insect and tick bite avoidance factsheet.

Dengue

Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes which predominantly feed between dawn and dusk. It causes a flu-like illness, which can occasionally develop into a more serious life-threatening form of the disease. Severe dengue is rare in travellers.

The mosquitoes that transmit dengue are most abundant in towns, cities and surrounding areas. All travellers to dengue areas are at risk.

Dengue in Hong Kong

There is a risk of dengue in this country.  

Prevention

  • All travellers should avoid mosquito bites particularly between dawn and dusk.
  • There is currently no medication or vaccination available for travellers to prevent dengue.

Dengue in brief

Important News

05 Apr 2018

Worldwide rabies risk reminder

A reminder for travellers of the worldwide risk of rabies Read more

26 Jan 2018

Avian flu: Chinese New Year travel advice

Travelling to China to celebrate the New Year? Read more

05 Jan 2017

Avian flu: Chinese New Year travel advice

Travelling to China to celebrate the New Year? Read more

22 Jun 2015

MERS-CoV update: Republic of Korea and China

Ongoing surveillance of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Republic of Korea (South Korea) and China Read more

05 Jun 2015

MERS-CoV: Republic of Korea and China

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) update: Republic of Korea and China Read more

22 May 2015

Hand, foot and mouth disease in the Western Pacific region

Japan has reported 15,285 cases of Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) Read more

18 Mar 2015

Avian influenza: Egypt and worldwide

Human infections with avian influenza viruses in Egypt and worldwide
Read more

10 Feb 2015

Imported avian influenza A (H7N9): Canada

First cases of influenza A (H7N9) infection in humans in North America Read more

Outbreaks

11 Apr 2018 Hong Kong (China)

As of 9 April 2018, a wild bird infected with influenza A (H5N6) was detected in the ongoing national surveillance program. No spread of disease was evident.

Animal

Air-Borne

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OIE - Read more

22 Jan 2018 View Countries + Afghanistan
Algeria
Andorra
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As of 19 January 2018, European Commission has updated the the list of countries affected by product withdrawal of infant powder milk products: Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, China, Colombia, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Haiti, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Martin, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, and FYR Macedonia. 

Human

Food and water-borne

Updates 5

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European Commission - Read more

14 Nov 2017 Hong Kong (China)

As of 13 November 2017, a total of 1,682 cases were reported for 2017, a marked increase for the same period in 2016 and 2015.

Human

Miscellaneous

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State - Read more