For outdoors enthusiasts, traveling through China can be a fun and rewarding experience. With its vast panoramic landscapes, beautiful waterfalls and endless rice terraces, travelers to China are sure to be left with lifelong memories. Before leaving for China, certain preventative measures, precautions and immunizations should be taken to ensure a safe, healthy trip and return.
Visitors to China are not required to have any specific immunizations for general travel. One exception is for travelers arriving from countries where yellow fever is present; they are required to have had the yellow fever vaccination and must have proof of this on arrival.
It is recommneded that travelers update routine immunizations before departure. Tetanus and diphtheria (DPT), polio and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) fall within this category.
Recommended--Hepatitis A and B
Hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended for all travelers no matter the nature of travel. Hepatitis is easily contracted through contaminated water and food; thus, protection is important. Hepatitis B vaccinations are highly recommended for those whose travel plans include the possibility of exposure to bodily fluids or blood (sex with a local, volunteer work, medical treatment).
For those traveling to smaller villages and the countryside, a typhoid vaccination is recommended because of possible exposure through infected food and water.
Rabies immunizations are important when travel plans include the outdoors. Travel to rural areas, national parks and participating in outdoors activities (biking, hiking, camping) that put visitors in close proximity to wild animals, particularly bats, dogs and monkeys, increase the risk of a rabies infection.
The Japanese encephalitis immunization is recommended only if visitors plan to travel to rural areas of China that currently report an outbreak of the disease. Infection rates are extremely low (fewer than 40 cases in the past 40 years in all of Asia), making the need for this immunization rare.
Taking precautions against malaria is recommended for travelers to the rural countryside of the Hainan, Yunnan and Anhui provinces. There is no immunization for malaria, but numerous antimalarial drugs such as Mefloquine and chloroquine are available. Check with a doctor before taking any medication, as side effects are common. Other preventive measures include wearing long clothing, using an insect repellant and not using perfumes and after-shaves with strong aromas.