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Destination Information for South Korea

Technology and tradition are equally prominent in South Korea, a country full of contrasts. From ancient religious sites and temples to towering skyscrapers and bustling cosmopolitan cities, the diversity of South Korea is part of what attracts its many visitors.

A trip here should always include a visit to the capital, Seoul, which is a good base from which to see the Bukhansan National Park, unusually located in the city. In Seoul itself, as well as fabulous shopping, restaurants and nightlife, you’ll also have chance to visit a number of famous temples, in addition to the Seoul Tower and the popular Teddy Bear Museum.

A popular holiday destination for South Koreans is Busan, a major city towards the South of the country and close to the coast. It is known for its beautiful Haeundae beach, with many other tourist destinations within easy reach, including temples and historical sites. There are plenty of hiking and trekking opportunities for those who like to explore their travel destination on foot – visit during the autumn or spring months for stunning tree colours and scenery in the mountains.

If you’re looking for somewhere to travel that’s unlike anywhere in the Western world, offering unrivalled scenery, historic and religious significance and a diverse pace of life that’s suited to city-slickers as well as those who need peace away from it all, South Korea has it all. You’ll receive a friendly welcome from the locals and an experience you’ll never forget.

MERS-CoV Infection in Republic of Korea (Update)

The National IHR Focal Point for the Republic of Korea has notified WHO of a further 9 confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and 3 deaths between 20-23 June 2015.

The total mumber of cases reported to WHO stands at 175, including the single case reported in Hong Kong. Twenty seven deaths from MERS-CoV infection have now been reported.

Apart from the index case, all cases have been associated with healthcare facilities, to date. A total of 23 cases have been healthcare professionals.

Advice for Travellers 

The risk associated with novel coronavirus to the general UK population remains extremely low and the risk to travellers to the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding countries remains very low.

Although the source of the virus and the mechanism of transmission is unknown, it would be prudent to try to reduce the general risk of infection while travelling by:

Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.

Frequent handwashing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.

Adhering to food safety and hygiene rules such as avoiding undercooked meats, raw fruits and vegetables unless they have been peeled, or unsafe water.

People at high risk of severe disease due to MERS-CoV should avoid close contact with animals when visiting farms or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating. For the general public, when visiting a farm or a barn, general hygiene measures, such as regular hand washing before and after touching animals, avoiding contact with sick animals should be adhered to.

People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands) and to delay travel until they are no longer symptomatic.

Travellers to the Middle East or Republic of Korea who develop symptoms either during travel or after their return are encouraged to seek medical attention and to share their history of travel.

Malaria and regions within country:

There is a low risk of P.Vivax malaria throughout the country. Anti-malarial medication is not normally advised, however mosquito bite prevention is encouraged.

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Non Vaccinated Diseases

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is primarily spread to humans either by infected ticks or animal blood. Human-to-human transmission can also occur resulting from close contact with the blood, organs or other bodily fluids of an infected person.

Scrub typhus

Scrub typhus, also known as bush typhus, is a bacterial disease that is spread to people through bites of infected chiggers (larval mites). Common symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes rash. It can usually be treated with antibiotics, however people with severe illness may develop organ failure and bleeding, which can be fatal if left untreated.

Travel Kits and Accessories
Price
Deet 50% (100ml)
£8
Deet 50% (50ml)
£6
Lifesystems EX4 Anti-Mozzie Fabric Spray 350ml
£8.50
Lifesystems Micro Mosquito Net (Single)
£20
Lifesystems Micro Mosquito Net (Double)
£25
Natural Mosquito Repellent (100ml)
£7.75

Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes and it causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. Joint pain is often debilitating and can vary in duration. The disease shares some clinical signs with Dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where Dengue is common. There is no cure for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.

Travel Kits and Accessories
Price
Deet 50% (100ml)
£8
Deet 50% (50ml)
£6
Lifesystems Bed Bug Barrier Bedsheet
£12.99
Lifesystems EX4 Anti-Mozzie Fabric Spray 350ml
£8.50
Lifesystems Micro Mosquito Net (Single)
£20
Lifesystems Micro Mosquito Net (Double)
£25

Leishmaniasis

A parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of an infected sandfly. Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (the most common): Causes skin lesions, mainly ulcers on exposed parts of the body, causing scars and serious disability. 90% of cases are in the Americas, the Mediterranean basin, the Middle East and Asia. Visceral Leishmaniasis (the most dangerous): Causes enlarged spleen and liver, anaemia, weight loss and irregular bouts of fever. Highly endemic in the Indian Subcontinent and East Africa. Mucotaneous (the least common): Causes partial or total destruction of the mucous membranes in the nose, mouth and throat. Most cases are found in Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.

Travel Kits and Accessories
Price
Deet 50% (100ml)
£8
Deet 50% (50ml)
£6
Lifesystems EX4 Anti-Mozzie Fabric Spray 350ml
£8.50
Lifesystems Micro Mosquito Net (Single)
£20
Lifesystems Micro Mosquito Net (Double)
£25

Additional Health Risks Information for South Korea

Travellers to South Korea will find it generally a safe and peaceful place to visit. Crime against tourists and foreign visitors is rare, although it does happen occasionally. Take extra care of your possessions, especially in crowded areas, and avoid taking unnecessary risks.

Health care facilities in the country are usually of a good standard, although doctors, nurses and other staff may not speak English. Ensure you have adequate insurance in place, as medical treatment can be expensive. Across the whole of Korea there is a risk of tick-borne illnesses including dengue fever. Take sensible precautions to avoid being bitten by ticks and mosquitos. During the spring, air pollution is high, particularly in the cities. If you suffer from respiratory problems, it’s advisable to stay indoors as much as possible, and to keep well hydrated. Japanese Encephalitis is present in rural areas so consult a travel clinic to discuss vaccination before your trip.

The Korean peninsula is divided by a military zone which separates South Korea from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). If you are in this area, take extra care for your own security, and follow any advice or instructions from the authorities.

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