Hong Kong (China)
Time Zone: +8 hours. No daylight savings time in 2008.
Tel. Country Code: 852
USADirect Tel.: 0
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 230/50 (volts/hz). Grounding Adaptor Plugs C, F.
Travel Advisory - Hong Kong (China)
Malaria, Japanese encephalitis, and dengue fever occur throughout SE Asia and the Indian sub-Continent. Insect-bite protection is essential. Hepatitis E, spread by contaminated water, is also a threat. There is no vaccine. Pregnant women are at special risk. Take measures, as needed, to purify your water outside of first-class hotels.
Dr. Rose Recommends for Travel to Hong Kong (China)
• U.S. Consulate General
26 Garden Road
Central Hong Kong
24-hours telephone number:  2523-9011
Direct lines to American Citizen Services:  2841-2211, 2841-2323, 2841-2225
• Consulate General of Canada
13th Floor, One Exchange Square
8 Connaught Place
Central Hong Kong
Tel:  3719 4700
Emergency toll-free to Ottawa:  00-2326-6831
• British Consulate-General
No 1 Supreme Court Road
Tel:  2901-3000
 2901-3204 (Consular)
HIV Test: Not required.
Required Vaccinations: None required.
Passport/Visa: Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) since July 1, 1997, has a high degree of autonomy, except in the areas of defense and foreign policy, and retains its own currency, laws, and border controls. It is composed of three geographic areas: the New Territories, Kowloon Peninsula, and Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong SAR is cosmopolitan and highly developed. Tourist facilities and services are widely available. The Hong Kong SAR Government has a website in English at: http://www.gov.hk/en/about/abouthk/factsheets/index.htm
which provides useful information on a comprehensive range of subjects.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Immigration Department for the most up-to-date information. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) and has separate immigration regulations from those of the People's Republic of China. Three-month visas for Hong Kong are issued to visitors on arrival.
If you are entering the Hong Kong SAR from the People's Republic of China, you may be required to obtain a new visa to re-enter the People's Republic of China.
You can visit the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department at 7 Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong, (tel: (852) 2824 6111) or online at www.immd.gov.hk for further advice on Hong Kong visa matters. You can also enquire at the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office at level 1, Hong Kong House, 80 Druitt Street, Sydney (tel: 02 9283 3222) and online at www.hketosydney.org.au.
As a preventative measure against SARS and avian influenza, local quarantine measures on entry into Hong Kong include a body temperature check. Depending on results, further medical examinations may be required.
If you plan to enter mainland China from Hong Kong, you should be aware that Chinese authorities have implemented more stringent visa issuing requirements. Authorities have also tightened the enforcement of documentation requirements for tourist (L) and business (F) visa applications, while the number of multiple entry visas issued has been reduced. You are strongly encouraged to contact your nearest Chinese embassy or consulate for detailed information.
Public transportation from the Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok to Central Hong Kong (about 25 miles) is readily available, as are taxis. Travelers should exchange sufficient money for transportation at the airport exchange facility located immediately outside the baggage claim area.
For the most current information concerning entry and exit requirements, travelers can consult the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department
Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road Wanchai, Hong Kong; Telephone:  2824-6111, fax:  2877-7711
Home page: http://www.immd.gov.hk
or the Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 328-2500
Home page: http://www.china-embassy.org/eng
or the PRC consulates general in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, or San Francisco. Overseas, inquiries may be made at the nearest PRC embassy or consulate.
U.S. citizens should obtain all required visas prior to departing the U.S. Specifically, U.S. citizens wishing to travel to the PRC from Hong Kong require a PRC visa and should apply at the PRC Embassy or consulates in the U.S. Parents whose children hold U.S. passports should be aware that the PRC Visa Office may require original birth certificates or other U.S. documents for these children. Persons applying in Hong Kong for PRC visas for U.S.-born children have been unable to obtain PRC visas without the original U.S. birth certificate. Further information on travel to and around the PRC is available in the China Consular Information Sheet.
For the most current visa information, visit the Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China website at:
Vaccinations: Recommended and Routine
Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travelers >1 year of age not previously immunized against hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B: Recommended for all non-immune travelers at potential risk for acquiring this infection. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; when receiving medical or dental injections, or unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact between open skin lesions. Recommended for any traveler requesting protection against hepatitis B infection.
Influenza: Vaccination recommended for all travelers >6 months of age who have not received a flu shot in the previous 12 months.
Japanese Encephalitis: Recommended for travelers planning to visit rural rice farming and pig rearing areas for >4 weeks, April through October, and under special circumstances, such as a known outbreak of Japanese encephalitis.
Routine Immunizations: Immunizations against tetanus-diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR vaccine) and varicella (chickenpox) should be updated, if necessary, before departure. MMR protection is especially important for any female of childbearing age who may become pregnant.
• The new Tdap vaccine, ADACEL, which also boosts immunity against pertussis (whooping cough) should be considered when a tetanus-diphtheria booster is indicated.
Typhoid: Recommended for all travelers with the exception of short-term visitors who restrict their meals to major restaurants and hotels, such as business travelers and cruise passengers.
Hospitals / Doctors
Good medical facilities are available, and there are many Western-trained physicians in Hong Kong.
All travelers should be up-to-date on their immunizations and are advised to carry a medical kit as well as antibiotics to treat travelers diarrhea or other infections; they should bring drugs for malaria prophylaxis, if needed according to their itinerary. Travelers who are taking regular medications should carry them properly labeled and in sufficient quantity to last for the duration of their trip; they should not expect to obtain prescription or over-the-counter drugs in local stores or pharmacies in this country - the equivalent drugs may not be available.
• We advise travelers to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with specific overseas coverage. Policies should cover: ground and air ambulance transport, including evacuation to home country; payment of hospital bills; 24-hour telephone assistance. Be sure the policy provides for medical evacuation to an advanced medical facility, even in another country, in the event of serious illness or injury.
US Embassy list of hospitals and medical providers: http://hongkong.usconsulate.gov/acs_medical.html
High quality medical care is widely available. Many physicians are Western-trained.
• Matilda International Hospital
41 Mount Kellett Road
Tel:  2849 0123 (24-hour help line)
Provides a wide range of facilities for medical, surgical and pediatric care along with an extensive maternity unit, a health assessment unit supported by the latest imaging technology and an EBCT HeartScan.
• Hong Kong Adventist Hospital
40 Stubbs Road
24-hour urgent care as well as international travel medicine services. Used by many expatriates.
• Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospital
199 Tsuen King Circuit
Tsuen Wan, N.T
Tel: 852 2276-7676
• Dr. John Simon
Central Medical Practice
1501 Prince's Building
Central Hong Kong
Specialist in infectious and tropical diseases. Old-school manner.
• TY Medical Practice
B/F 473 Hennessy Road Hong Kong
Twenty-four hour medical care. Four locations.
Destination Health Info for Travelers
AIDS/HIV: In most Asian countries the epidemic is centered among certain high-risk groups, particularly men who have sex with men (MSM), injecting drug users, sex workers and their partners. However, the epidemic spreading beyond these groups into the general population. Source: www.Avert.org
• The prevalence of HIV in adults in Hong Kong is estimated at 0.1%. In 2006, heterosexual transmission in Hong Kong accounted for 34% of all HIV reports; HIV infection among MSM is increasingly prevalent. The number of HIV reports from MSM was higher than that from heterosexual men for the first time in last decade.
• Transmission of HIV can be prevented by avoiding: sexual contact with a high-risk partner; injecting drug use with shared needles; non-sterile medical injections; unscreened blood transfusions.
• The threat of HIV/AIDS should not be a primary concern for the traveler. However, there may be a concern for a subset of travelers who may be exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, through contact with the body fluids of another person or their blood. Although travel has contributed in a general way to the global spread of AIDS, fear of traveling because of this disease is not warranted.
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu): In the first half of 2007 there were a few reported cases of H5N1 avian influenza A in Hong Kong, but only in birds. Another outbreak was reported from Hong Kong poultry markets in June 2008. No human cases have been reported. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed human cases elsewhere in the region and there have been some human fatalities in China.
• H5N1 avian influenza is predominantly a disease of birds. The virus does not pass easily from birds to people and does not to pass from person to person (except in very rare cases of close contact with an infected blood relative).
• The risk to humans from avian influenza is believed to be very low and no travel restrictions are advised, except travelers should avoid visiting animal markets, poultry farms and other places where they may come into close contact with live or dead poultry, or domestic, caged or wild birds and their excretions. In addition, travelers are advised to:
1. Cook poultry and egg dishes thoroughly. (Well-cooked poultry is safe to eat.)
2. Wash hands frequently with soap and water if around poultry.
• The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend travel restrictions to countries experiencing outbreaks of influenza A (H5N1) in birds, including those countries which have reported associated cases of human infection. To date, no cases of avian influenza A (H5N1) illness have been identified among short-term travelers visiting countries affected by outbreaks among poultry or wild birds.
The usual vaccines against influenza are not protective against bird flu.
Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is somewhat effective in the treatment of H5N1 avian influenza. It seems to be effective in some cases, but may fail in others. Recently, resistant strains have been reported. In addition, the dosage and duration of treatment appear to be different in severe H5N1 cases.
• More information here: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/358/3/261
• The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world. For a list of these countries, visit the OIE website: http://www.oie.int/downld/avian%20influenza/A_AI-Asia.htm
Dengue Fever: The risk of dengue fever is generally low. Every year several cases of dengue fever are reported in Hong Kong. many of these cases are imported from other countries.
Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted, flu-like viral illness widespread in the Far East. Symptoms consist of sudden onset of fever, headache, muscle aches, and a rash. It is sometimes complicated by hemorrhage or shock.
• Dengue is transmitted via the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. Aedes mosquitoes feed predominantly during daylight hours. All travelers are at risk and should take measures to prevent daytime mosquito bites. These measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin and permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear.
• There is no vaccination or medication to prevent or treat dengue.
Gnathostomiasis: Gnathostomiasis, which is caused by a helminth known as Gnathostoma spinigerum, may be acquired by eating raw or undercooked food infected with the larvae of the parasite; such foods typically include fish, shrimp, crab, crayfish, frog, or chicken. Symptoms include transient, migratory cutaneous or subcutaneous swellings, or nonspecific gastrointestinal symptoms, sometimes associated with joint pains and muscle pains. The symptoms may not begin until many months after exposure. Treatment with albendazole is effective.
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease: There has been an outbreak of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) in several provinces, particularly in eastern and southern regions of China, as well as Hong Kong and Macau. HFMD is caused by intestinal Enterovirus 71 (EV 71) and mainly affects small children. HFMD is transmitted via respiratory droplets and is characterized by fever, blisters and rashes on the hands, feet and buttocks. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information on preventative measures. (http://www.who.int/csr/don/2008_05_01/en/index.html)
• According to the WHO recommendations, in certain situations, it may be advisable to close child-care facilities and schools to reduce the intensity of transmission. It is NOT necessary to restrict travel or trade.
Hepatitis: All travelers not previously immunized against hepatitis A should be vaccinated against this disease. Travelers who are non-immune to hepatitis A (i.e. have never had the disease and have not been vaccinated) should take particular care to avoid potentially contaminated food and water. Travelers who will have access to safe food and water are at lower risk. Those at higher risk include travelers visiting friends and relatives, long-term travelers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation. Outbreaks of hepatitis A usually have occurred every 2 to 3 years in Hong Kong, but the incidence of hepatitis A has declined during the past decade due to improvements in sanitation. The commonest source of hepatitis A in Hong Kong is improperly cooked or raw shellfish, oysters in particular.
• Hepatitis E is endemic and accounts for about 15% of all acute cases of hepatitis in Hong Kong. Sporadic cases may also be underdiagnosed and underreported. Transmission of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs primarily through drinking water contaminated by sewage and also through raw or uncooked shellfish. Farm animals, such as swine, and also deer and wild boar, may serve as a viral reservoirs. (HEV is one of the few viruses which has been shown to be transmitted directly from animals through food.) In developing countries, prevention of hepatitis E relies primarily on the provision of clean water supplies and overall improved sanitation and hygiene. There is no vaccine.
• Hepatitis B is hyperendemic. The overall hepatitis B (HBsAg) carrier rate in the general population is estimated as high as 12%. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from non-sterile medical or dental injections, and acupuncture; from unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin lesions of an infected person. The average traveler is at low risk for acquiring this infection. Vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended for: persons having casual/unprotected sex with new partners; sexual tourists; injecting drug users; long-term visitors; expatriates, and anybody wanting increased protection against the hepatitis B virus.
• Hepatitis C is endemic at low levels with a prevalence of 0.5% in the general population. Most hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread either through intravenous drug use or, in lesser-developed countries, through blood contamination during medical procedures. Over 200 million people around the world are infected with hepatitis C - an overall incidence of around 3.3% of the population of the world. Statistically, as many people are infected with HCV as are with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Japanese Encephalitis (JE): Sporadic cases are reported year-round. Three cases of Japanese encephalitis were reported from the New Territories in June-July 2004, followed by a fourth case in October. Vaccination is recommended only for extended travel (3 to 4 weeks or more) in this region. Travelers to Hong Kong should take measures to prevent daytime mosquito bites.
Geographic Distribution of Japanese Encephalitis:
Leptospirosis: Five cases of leptospirosis were reported in 2007. Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease, caused by spirochetes, that affects humans and a wide range of animals, including mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles.
The infection is commonly transmitted to humans by allowing fresh water that has been contaminated by animal urine to come in contact with unhealed breaks in the skin, eyes or with the mucous membranes.
Leptospirosis frequently acquired through bathing, rafting, or swimming in contaminated freshwater, especially after there has been flooding.
Malaria: There is a very low risk of malaria in Hong Kong. Malaria has been reported only in rural northern border areas near mainland China. Malaria is transmitted via the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Anopheles mosquitoes feed predominantly during the hours from dusk to dawn. Malaria chemoprophylaxis is not advised for travel to Hong Kong. Prevention of malaria is primarily through the avoidance of mosquito bites.
• All travelers should take measures to prevent evening and nighttime mosquito bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin, applying permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear, and sleeping under a permethrin-treated bednet. DEET-based repellents remain the gold standard of protection under circumstances in which it is crucial to be protected against mosquito bites that may transmit disease. Nearly 100% protection can be achieved when DEET repellents are used in combination with permethrin-treated clothing.
• You should consider the diagnosis of malaria if you develop an unexplained fever during or after being in this country.
Rabies: No cases of rabies have been confirmed in humans or any animal species, including bats, from 2001 to mid-2006. Although rabies vaccination is not advised for travel to Hong Kong, any unprovoked dog or wild animal bite should be medically evaluated for possible post-exposure treatment.
• Note: There is significant risk of rabies in mainland China.
Scrub Typhus: Risk currently exists in rural and forested areas. All travelers having contact with vegetation (e.g., along roads or forest paths) should take measures to prevent bites of larval mites (chiggers). Measures include wearing protective clothing (preferably treated with permethrin) and applying a deet repellent to exposed skin.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS): Currently, there is no known SARS transmission anywhere in the world. The most recent human cases of SARS-CoV infection were reported in China in April 2004 in an outbreak resulting from laboratory-acquired infections.
Travelers' Diarrhea: All drinking water in Hong Kong is purified and chlorinated. In urban and resort areas, the hotels and restaurants serve reliable food and potable water. Outside of hotels and resorts, we recommend that you filter or purify all drinking water or drink only bottled water or other bottled beverages and do not use ice cubes. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products. Do not eat raw or undercooked food, especially meat, fish, raw vegetables. Peel all fruits.
• Good hand hygiene reduces the incidence of travelers’ diarrhea by 30%.
• A quinolone antibiotic, or azithromycin, combined with loperamide (Imodium), is recommended for the treatment of diarrhea. Diarrhea not responding to antibiotic treatment may be due to a parasitic disease such as giardiasis, amebiasis, or cryptosporidiosis.
• Seek qualified medical care if you have bloody diarrhea and fever, severe abdominal pain, uncontrolled vomiting, or dehydration.
Typhoid Fever: Typhoid fever is the most serious of the Salmonella infections. Typhoid vaccine is recommended by the CDC for all people (with the exception of short-term visitors who restrict their meals to hotels or resorts) traveling to or working in Asia, especially if visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives where exposure might occur through food or water. Current vaccines against Salmonella typhi are only 50-80% protective and do not protect against Salmonella paratyphi, the cause of paratyphoid fever. (Paratyphoid fever bears similarities with typhoid fever, but the course is generally more benign.) Travelers should continue to practice strict food, water and personal hygiene precautions, even if vaccinated.