Vaccination and Travel Information for Korea, South

SOUTH KOREA

 Information current as at:  February 2009 by The D2 Medical centre No 1 Fitzwilliam Street Upper Dublin 2 ph 6314500. The experts in travel vaccines Dublin 2.


Climate: The climate of Korea is characterized by the four distinct seasons. The contrast between winter and summer is striking. Winter is bitterly cold and is influenced primarily by the Siberian air mass, whilst summer is hot and humid due to the maritime pacific high. Temperatures of all seasons are somewhat lower than those at the corresponding latitudes in other continents. The variation of annual mean temperature ranges from 10 degrees to 16 degrees except for the mountainous areas. August is the hottest month with the mean temperature ranging from 20 degrees to 26 degrees. January is the coldest month with the mean temperature ranging from -5 degrees to 5 degrees.

The prevailing winds are southeasterly in summer, and northwesterly in winter. The winds are stronger in winter, from December to February, than those of any other season. The relative humidity is highest in July at 80% to 90% nationwide, and is lowest in January and April at 30% to 50%.

The monsoon front approaches the Korean Peninsula from the south in late June, migrating gradually to the north. The rainy season (so-called Jangma season ) over Korea continues for a month from late June. A short period of rainfall comes in early September when the monsoon front retreats back from the north
Capital City: Seoul
Altitude: 60 metres above sea level
Main Cities: Inchon, Pusan, Taegu
Population: 44,843,000
Land Area (sq km): 99,020
Currency: 1 won = 100 jeon
Languages: Korean
Religions: Buddhist, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Confucianist
Economy: Minerals, textiles, footwear, food processing, heavy industry, electrical/ electronic equipment, steel, chemicals


 The D2 Medical advises all travellers to be 'up-to-date' for:

CHOLERA Immunisation is neither required nor recommended.
DIPHTHERIA We recommend the initial childhood series of vaccinations in the first five years of life, with booster doses at ages 11 years, 45 years, and 65 years. Travellers are recommended to have the vaccine 10 yearly esp. if travelling to developing countries, or where there may be a risk of contracting the disease.

HEPATITIS 'A' Immunisation is strongly recommended but not compulsory.


HEPATITIS ‘B’ Immunisation is recommended for travellers who will be in the area for 1 month or more.
Transmission of Hepatitis B is through sex or contact with contaminated blood, needles and syringes.


JAP. B.ENCEPHALITIS Immunisation is recommended for travellers who will be living in rural or remote areas of the country for 1 month or more.

POLIO Adults who are travelling to areas where poliomyelitis cases are occurring, or where the contracting the disease is possible, and who have received a primary series with either IPV or OPV should receive another dose of IPV before departure. For adults, available data do not indicate the need for more than a single lifetime booster dose with IPV.



RABIES Immunisation is recommended for travellers who will be staying in rural areas for 1 month or more.

TUBERCULOSIS (TB) Immunisation is not compulsory, and is not routinely recommended for adults.
Children should be immunised at any age.
A skin test is available if immune status is in doubt, and this is recommended pre- and post- travel for those going to ‘at risk’ regions.


TETANUS We recommend the initial childhood series of vaccinations in the first five years of life, with booster doses at ages 11 years, 45 years, and 65 years. Travellers are recommended to have the vaccine 10 yearly esp. if travelling to developing countries, or where there may be a risk of contracting the disease.

TYPHOID FEVER Immunisation is recommended for travellers who will be living in rural areas for 1 month or more.


YELLOW FEVER Immunisation is not required for travel to this country alone.




Limited malaria risk—exclusively due to P. vivax—exists mainly in the northern areas of Kyunggi Do Province. Recommended prophylaxis for travellers: none.

 

General Advice on Mosquito Prevention.
Malaria is transmitted by mosquito bite, so recommend all travellers to the country to:

  • cover exposed skin after dusk when they are at most risk for getting bitten
  • use insect repellent with DEET in it.
  • return before dusk from country areas where malarial mosquitoes are the most active
  • sleep in screened room or use a bed net, remembering to tuck in the edges & spray inside.
  • sleep in air conditioned rooms or rooms with fans. Vapour pads and smoke coils also help. Insect buzzers are useless.

Malaria map of South Korea




GENERAL
Adequate to excellent medical care is available in the major population centers, but it is usually very limited or unavailable in rural areas. Medical facilities are basic in urban areas and poor to non-existent in rural areas. Some medicines are in short supply or locally unobtainable.

HEALTH, ACCIDENTS AND INSURANCE
Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travellers under the age of 55. Most are caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; and to a lesser degree, drowning, aircraft crashes, murders, and burns.

Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travellers, but infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travellers. Generally, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.

Travellers are advised to obtain, before departure, travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should include a medical evacuation benefit. Check for any exclusions that are part of the policy, and keep in mind that many insurance policies have terrorism exclusion clauses. The D2 Medical recommends that the policy also provide 24-hour access to an assistance centre that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care, and determine if air ambulance services are required.


                                                                                                                                  DR JOHN J RYAN MEDICAL DIRECTOR

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