Exciting, diverse, vibrant and densely populated with some outlying islands that represent a stunning reprieve, Hong Kong is where almost all travellers end up even on a short transit stay if nothing else. The gateway between Asia and the rest of the world, and a sophisticated fusion of eastern and western cultures make Hong Kong traditional, safe and clean and often surprising for travellers. There is no lack of modern medicine and traditional Chinese medicine facilities, or access to good food and water, but there are a small number of precautions to take when travelling to Hong Kong that should ensure your trip goes extremely well – and lets you do what most come here for, shopping.
There are not any unusual diseases present unique to Hong Kong, however some safety precautions are advised.
- Ensure you are up to date on routine childhood vaccinations
- Let the doctor know of your travel plans, activities and itinerary (including other countries)
- Practice good food and handwashing hygiene.
- Avoid mosquito bites. Occasional outbreaks of mosquito borne illnesses such as dengue fever may occur from time to time
- Practice safe sex and do not share needles
- Avoid strenuous outdoor activity if you may be sensitive to air pollution
Which vaccinations are recommended for Hong Kong?
The following vaccines listed are general advice and recommendations only. This information is not a substitute for adequate medical advice from the Travel Vaccination Clinic doctor or your own doctor. It is your responsibility to let the doctor know anything you think may be relevant to your vaccination program during your appointment. This will ensure you get the best possible advice, with no unwanted consequences.
You may come into contact with the Hepatitis A virus in Hong Kong – and this can occur anywhere you decide to stay and eat. It is highly likely you will recomended the Hepatitis A vaccination before leaving home, unless you have recently had it. Many travellers do not know that they carry the Hepatitis A virus for some time, and symptoms can be confusing. For more information before you discus this with the doctor, read the Hepatitis A information page.
Typhoid is a virus with flu-like symptoms that exists in Hong Kong (and throughout other parts of the world). The typhoid virus can be passed on to travellers through contaminated food or water, which is not highly likely in Hong Kong but could be a major risk if you travel throughout Asia or Mainland China once leaving Hong Kong. To learn more, read the general information on this vaccine on the Typhoid information page. Rural areas usually pose an increased risk for typhoid infection, and much of Botswana is undeveloped rural land.
Both Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations can be given to you in one shot, and this lasts for a number of years. Ask the Travel Vaccination Clinic about getting vaccinated against Hepatitis A and Typhoid, as well as taking food safety precautions to keep your risk of exposure minimal.
Hepatitis B may be contracted in Hong Kong. There are a number of ways the virus can be passed from person to person, but it does not travel through the air. Risk of contracting Hepatitis B can be increased in a few ways, including through sexual contact, exposure to needles or bodily fluids. The vaccine is highly recommended for anyone who might do anything that puts him or her at risk of contracting Hepatitis B. To read more about the virus, symptoms, and prevention visit the Hepatitis B information page.
Rabies is present in bats in Hong Kong, but not found in dogs or other mammals, so risk is considered minimal, however certain types of travellers may still be advised to get a rabies vaccine, and take extra precautions. There is also a preventive vaccine, or a course of injections you can take if you believe you may have been infected with the rabies virus. Please read the Rabies information page to find out more.
Avian Flu and other risks associated with travel to Hong Kong
Hong Kong is home to the most densely populated district in any city on earth, Kowloon, so travellers and locals alike are rightly concerned that viruses such as avian flu may be passed around easily. Taking usual, sensible precautions and seeking medical attention if necessary should keep you safe. While there have been some cases of avian flu reported since 2013, they mostly occurred in people who had been to Mainland China, and the risk is not considered great for people in Hong Kong.
Air pollution, which may affect those with sinus issues, chest infections or diseases affecting the lungs and respiratory system are another concern in Hong Kong. On days when the air pollution reading is dangerously high, people who might have issues are advised to remain mostly indoors, and not do anything too physically stressful while outside.