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COVID-19 Travel Information

Level 2: COVID-19 Moderate

  • COVID-19 in South Korea April 02, 2021 Travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid all nonessential travel to South Korea.

COVID-19 Global Notice - Very High

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Travel Health Notices

Stay aware of current health issues in South Korea in order to advise your patients on additional steps they may need to take to protect themselves.

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Vaccines and Medicines

Prepare travelers to South Korea with recommendations for vaccines and medications.

 

  Recommendations Transmission Guidance
Routine vaccines

Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
  • Polio

varied

Immunization schedules

COVID-19

Everyone 16 years of age and older should get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before travel.

(transmission) 

COVID-19

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to South Korea.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Fecal-oral route (contaminated food and water)

Person-to-person contact

Hepatitis A (Yellow Book)

Dosing info

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers of all ages to South Korea.

Contact with blood and other body fluids:

  • Unprotected sex
  • Injection drug use
  • Contaminated transfusions
  • Exposure to human blood
  • Contaminated tattoo and piercing equipment

Hepatitis B (Yellow Book)

Dosing info

Japanese Encephalitis

Recommended for travelers who

  • Are moving to an area with Japanese encephalitis to live
  • Spend long periods of time, such as a month or more, in areas with Japanese encephalitis
  • Frequently travel to areas with Japanese encephalitis

Consider vaccination for travelers

  • Spending less than a month in areas with Japanese encephalitis but will be doing activities that increase risk of infection, such as visiting rural areas, hiking or camping, or staying in places without air conditioning, screens, or bed nets
  • Going to areas with Japanese encephalitis who are uncertain of their activities or how long they will be there

Not recommended for travelers planning short-term travel to urban areas or travel to areas with no clear Japanese encephalitis season. 

Bite of infected mosquitoes (primarily Culex)

Japanese encephalitis (Yellow Book)

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine for US Children

Malaria

CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of South Korea take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.

Find country-specific information about malaria.

Bite of infected mosquito (female Anopheles)

Malaria (Yellow Book)

Considerations when choosing a drug for malaria prophylaxis (Yellow Book)

Malaria information for South Korea.

Measles

Infants 6 to 11 months old traveling internationally should get 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as part of the routine childhood vaccination series.

Airborne

Measles (Rubeola) (Yellow Book)

Rabies

South Korea is free of dog rabies. However, rabies may still be present in wildlife species, particularly bats. CDC recommends rabies vaccination before travel only for people working directly with wildlife. These people may include veterinarians, animal handlers, field biologists, or laboratory workers working with specimens from mammalian species.

Mammal bites (bats and other carnivores). Canine rabies is not present.

Rabies (Yellow Book)

Typhoid

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Fecal-oral route (contaminated food and water)

Typhoid (Yellow  Book)

Dosing info (Yellow Book)

Routine vaccines

Recommendations

Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
  • Polio
Transmission

varied

Guidance

COVID-19

Recommendations

Everyone 16 years of age and older should get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before travel.

Transmission

(transmission) 

Guidance

Hepatitis A

Recommendations

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to South Korea.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Transmission

Fecal-oral route (contaminated food and water)

Person-to-person contact

Guidance

Hepatitis A (Yellow Book)

Dosing info

Hepatitis B

Recommendations

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers of all ages to South Korea.

Transmission

Contact with blood and other body fluids:

  • Unprotected sex
  • Injection drug use
  • Contaminated transfusions
  • Exposure to human blood
  • Contaminated tattoo and piercing equipment
Guidance

Hepatitis B (Yellow Book)

Dosing info

Japanese Encephalitis

Recommendations

Recommended for travelers who

  • Are moving to an area with Japanese encephalitis to live
  • Spend long periods of time, such as a month or more, in areas with Japanese encephalitis
  • Frequently travel to areas with Japanese encephalitis

Consider vaccination for travelers

  • Spending less than a month in areas with Japanese encephalitis but will be doing activities that increase risk of infection, such as visiting rural areas, hiking or camping, or staying in places without air conditioning, screens, or bed nets
  • Going to areas with Japanese encephalitis who are uncertain of their activities or how long they will be there

Not recommended for travelers planning short-term travel to urban areas or travel to areas with no clear Japanese encephalitis season. 

Transmission

Bite of infected mosquitoes (primarily Culex)

Guidance

Malaria

Recommendations

CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of South Korea take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.

Find country-specific information about malaria.

Transmission

Bite of infected mosquito (female Anopheles)

Guidance

Measles

Recommendations

Infants 6 to 11 months old traveling internationally should get 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as part of the routine childhood vaccination series.

Transmission

Airborne

Guidance

Measles (Rubeola) (Yellow Book)

Rabies

Recommendations

South Korea is free of dog rabies. However, rabies may still be present in wildlife species, particularly bats. CDC recommends rabies vaccination before travel only for people working directly with wildlife. These people may include veterinarians, animal handlers, field biologists, or laboratory workers working with specimens from mammalian species.

Transmission

Mammal bites (bats and other carnivores). Canine rabies is not present.

Guidance

Rabies (Yellow Book)

Typhoid

Recommendations

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Transmission

Fecal-oral route (contaminated food and water)

Guidance

Typhoid (Yellow  Book)

Dosing info (Yellow Book)

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Non-Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

The following diseases are possible risks your patients may face when traveling in South Korea. This list is based on our best available surveillance data and risk assessment information at the time of posting. It is not a complete list of diseases that may be present in a destination. Risks may vary within different areas of a destination.

 

Disease Name Common ways the disease spreads Advice Clinical Guidance for Healthcare Providers

Avoid contaminated water

Leptospirosis
  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil

Leptospirosis

Avoid bug bites

Tickborne Encephalitis
  • Mosquito bite

Tickborne Encephalitis

Airborne & droplet

Avian/Bird Flu
  • Being around, touching, or working with infected poultry, such as visiting poultry farms or live-animal markets
  • Avoid domestic and wild poultry

Influenza

Hantavirus
  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live
  • Avoid sick people

Hantavirus

Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.
  • Avoid sick people

Tuberculosis (TB)

Avoid contaminated water

Leptospirosis

How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)
  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
Advice
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil
Clinical Guidance

Avoid bug bites

Tickborne Encephalitis

How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)
  • Mosquito bite
Advice
Clinical Guidance

Airborne & droplet

Avian/Bird Flu

How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)
  • Being around, touching, or working with infected poultry, such as visiting poultry farms or live-animal markets
Advice
  • Avoid domestic and wild poultry
Clinical Guidance

Hantavirus

How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)
  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
Advice
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live
  • Avoid sick people
Clinical Guidance

Tuberculosis (TB)

How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)
  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.
Advice
  • Avoid sick people
Clinical Guidance

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Patient Counseling

Counsel your patients on actions they can take on their trip to stay healthy and safe.

Eat and drink safely

Industrialized country—no special precautions. Counsel travelers visiting rural or remote areas that are served by unregulated water sources (such as private wells) to take special precautions to ensure the safety of their drinking water.

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Prevent bug bites

Counsel travelers to take standard precautions against bug bites, including use of an appropriate insect repellent.

More Information on Insect Repellents

DEET (concentration of 20% or more) is the only insect repellent shown to be effective against ticks. However, several EPA-registered active ingredients provide reasonably long-lasting protection against mosquitoes:

  • DEET (chemical name: N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide or N,N-diethyl-3-methyl-benzamide): Concentrations above 50% show no additional protective benefit.
  • Picaridin (KBR 3023 [Bayrepel] and icaridin outside the United States; chemical name: 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperidinecarboxylic acid 1-methylpropyl ester): Must be reapplied more often than DEET.
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD (chemical name: para-menthane-3,8-diol), the synthesized version of OLE. “Pure” oil of lemon eucalyptus (essential oil) is not the same product; it has not undergone similar testing for safety and efficacy, is not registered with EPA as an insect repellent, and is not covered by this recommendation.
  • IR3535 (chemical name: 3-[N-butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester).
  • 2-undecanone

Products with <10% active ingredient may offer only limited protection (1–2 hours).

Encourage patients to use repellents and reapply only as instructed. If sunscreen is also needed, they should apply sunscreen first and repellent second. Encourage them to follow package directions for using repellent on children and avoid applying to their hands, eyes, and mouth.

For more detailed information, visit the Yellow Book: Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks, & Other Insects & Arthropods

Additional Resources
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Stay safe outdoors

Advise travelers to exercise caution during outdoor activities. Important tips include dressing appropriately for the climate (such as loose, lightweight clothing in hot climates and warm layers in cold climates), staying hydrated, avoiding overexposure to the sun, and practicing safe swimming habits.

Encourage travelers to learn basic first aid and CPR before travel, especially if they will be traveling to remote areas where medical assistance may not be accessible. Help them assemble a travel health kit.

Additional Resources:

Sunburn
Problems with Heat & Cold

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Keep away from animals

Counsel travelers to be cautious around all animals.

  • Travelers could be at risk for injuries from domestic animals such as dogs or cats, even in industrialized countries.
  • The best course of action is to avoid touching, petting, handling, or feeding animals, including pets.
  • Arthropods such as spiders and scorpions can pose a stinging risk, and travelers should exercise care in environments where these creatures are likely to be present.
  • Stress the urgency of treating suspected and probable rabies infection by:
    • Washing the wound immediately with soap and clean water.
    • Seeking medical attention as soon as possible.
Additional Resources

Animal-Associated Hazards (YB)
Rabies (YB)
Criteria for Preexposure Immunization for Rabies (YB)
Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks, & Other Insects & Arthropods (YB)

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Reduce your exposure to germs

People who are ill should not travel. Urge travelers to practice hand hygiene and sneeze into a tissue or their sleeve.

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Avoid sharing body fluids

Counsel travelers on the risks of diseases associated with the exchange of saliva, blood, vomit, semen, urine, and feces.

Travelers should:

  • Use a latex condom correctly every time they engage in sex (vaginal, anal, and oral-genital).
  • Not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Not have tattoos, piercings, or other procedures that use needles (acupuncture) unless the needles are packaged new or sterilized.
  • Ensure that medical and dental equipment is sterile or disinfected if seeking care.
Additional Resources:
HIV & AIDS (YB)
Hepatitis B (YB)
Hepatitis C (YB)
Medical Tourism (YB)

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Know how to get medical care while traveling

Travelers should plan for how to obtain health care during their trip, should the need arise.

Discuss supplemental travel health insurance and medical evacuation insurance, and consider helping the traveler obtain an extra month of prescriptions for any needed medications.

Travelers may think they can find cheaper antimalarial drugs at their destination. To ensure medication quality, urge them to have their prescriptions filled in the United States.

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Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

Most recommendations for safe transportation are basic and could be considered common sense. However, travelers often do not think about the importance of being aware and careful when walking, riding, driving, or flying. Counsel travelers to think about transportation options before they arrive, especially if they will be driving in South Korea.

Some basic reminders to review with your patients:

  • Choose safe vehicles and avoid motorbikes when possible.
  • Wear a seatbelt or a helmet at all times.
  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • If they will be driving, remind them to get any driving permits and insurance they may need. It is recommended to get an International Driving Permit (IDP).
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft, and fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats) when possible.

Helpful Resources
Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, Auto Insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

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Maintain personal security

Travelers should be reminded on how to protect their personal safety during travel, regardless of their destination. 

The US Department of State has an extensive website with safety information for international travelers, travel advisories and alerts, and country-specific information. Travelers should be directed to the Department of State resources for information and tips on safe travel.

Stay abreast of current events, particularly those that could pose a safety or health problem for travelers. You can also receive updates on new travel advisories and alerts from the US Department of State by subscribing to their RSS feeds.

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Healthy Travel Packing List

Remind your patients to pack health and safety items. Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for South Korea for a list of health-related items they should consider packing.

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Advising Returning Travelers

Although some illnesses may begin during travel, others may occur weeks, months, or even years after return. A history of travel, particularly within the previous 6 months, should be part of the routine medical history for every ill patient. A newly returned, ill international traveler should be preferentially evaluated by a physician versed in travel-related illness.

Here are two professional medical organizations that provide directories of travel clinics throughout the United States:

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. Any patient presenting with a fever after traveling in a malaria-risk area during the last year should be evaluated immediately using the appropriate diagnostic tests for malaria. Malaria, especially P. falciparum, requires urgent intervention as clinical deterioration can occur rapidly and unpredictably.

For more information on advising patients after international travel, see Yellow Book Chapter 5: Post-Travel Evaluation.

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Map Disclaimer - The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on maps do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement are generally marked.