The health risk information presented here is summarized from Shoreland Travax®, a decision-support tool used by health care providers to perform a detailed health risk analysis based on specific locations, individual travel styles, and traveler risk behaviors. Travax provides practitioners current, independently researched malaria risk and prevention recommendations in a map-based format that goes beyond the annual WHO and CDC statements included here. Not included here are current reports from Travax of disease outbreaks or environmental events that may pose elevated risks to travelers’ health and safety. The Providers section of this site offers a directory of health care providers who utilize Shoreland Travax for travel health counseling. Learn more about the detailed reports and maps available from these practitioners (includes links to samples).
North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) is a developing nation in the lowest 25% of the world's economies. Located in eastern Asia, its climate is temperate.
See also: Library article for Yellow Fever
Although yellow fever does not occur in North Korea, an official yellow fever vaccination certificate may be required depending on your itinerary.
- Requirement: A vaccination certificate is required for travelers aged ≥ 1 year coming from countries with risk of YF transmission.
Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccination against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, Japanese encephalitis, measles, mumps, rubella, rabies, or typhoid fever. Routine immunizations, such as those that prevent tetanus/diphtheria or "childhood" diseases, should be reviewed and updated as needed.
See also: Library article for Malaria
The following is current information as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
WHO—International Travel and Health (current online update, Country List)Limited malaria risk due exclusively to P. vivax exists in some southern areas.
- Recommended prevention in risk areas: A - Very limited risk of malaria transmission. Mosquito bite prevention only.
WHO Country List footnote: When available, the date of the most recent update or confirmation is indicated in parentheses in the country list. If no date is indicated, the most recent update or confirmation was provided before 2013.
CDC—Health Information for International Travel (current online edition)Areas with malaria: Present in southern provinces.
- Estimated relative risk of malaria for US travelers: No data.
- Drug resistance4: None.
- Malaria species: Presumed to be 100% P. vivax.
- Recommended chemoprophylaxis: Atovaquone-proguanil, chloroquine, doxycycline, mefloquine, or primaquine.5
4 Refers to P. falciparum malaria unless otherwise noted.
5 Primaquine can cause hemolytic anemia in people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. Patients must be screened for G6PD deficiency before starting primaquine.
See also: Library article for Travelers' Diarrhea
Moderate risk exists throughout the country, including in deluxe accommodations. Food and beverage precautions may reduce the likelihood of illness.
Travelers should carry loperamide for self-treatment of diarrhea and, if risk is moderate to high, an antibiotic to add if diarrhea is severe. Consult a knowledgeable health care provider regarding which antibiotic is appropriate for you and most effective for your destination.
Insect- and Arthropod-Borne Diseases
Scrub typhus may pose a risk. Personal protective measures are important.
Other Disease and Health Risks
The material below includes information from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), as well as from additional open-source material. Standard safety precautions that apply to all international travel can be found in the Library article Safety and Security.
Consular Travel Advice
Due to ongoing security concerns, U.S. (DOS) and Canada (GAC) advise avoiding all travel to this country. U.K. (FCO) and Australia (DFAT) advise reconsidering travel (or avoiding nonessential travel) to this country. Note: As of September 1, 2017, U.S. passports will be invalid for travel to, through, and within North Korea; special passport validation may be granted under limited circumstances.
No intrinsic risk of attack by terrorist groups exists, but unforeseen attacks are possible.
Negligible risk of violent crime exists throughout the country.
Low risk of petty crime exists throughout the country, mainly in Pyongyang International Airport and public markets.
Scams involving pirated goods have been reported.
Other Safety Threats
Foreigners have been subject to arbitrary detention. Travelers should be conscious that cultural and political considerations, not just legal ones, may inform an authority’s decision to detain people.
North Korea is one of the world’s most isolated countries. The dispute over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has resulted in tensions in the region. North Korea transportation links with other countries and tightly restricts the circumstances under which travelers may enter the country and interact with local citizens.
The border between North and South Korea is closed, except for official visits to the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), which can also be periodically closed. Border skirmishes with the South Korean armed forces occur occasionally. The security situation could deteriorate suddenly.
National incidence data on traffic-related injury or death are not available.
Traffic flows on the right-hand side of the road. Travelers (including drivers and pedestrians) accustomed to traffic moving on the opposite side should be vigilant when navigating traffic.
The monsoon season is from June through September, coinciding with the typhoon season. Floods, mudslides, and landslides may occur.
Selected Embassies or Consulates in North Korea
- United States: The U.S. does not have an embassy or consulate in North Korea.
- Canada: Canada does not have an embassy or consulate in North Korea.
- United Kingdom: [+850] 2-381-7982; www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-pyonyang
- Australia: Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in North Korea.
North Korea's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries
- In the U.S.: North Korea does not have an embassy or consulate in the U.S.
- In Canada: North Korea does not have an embassy or consulate in Canada.
- In the U.K.: North Korea does not have an embassy or consulate in the U.K.
- In Australia: North Korea does not have an embassy or consulate in Australia.
HIV and hepatitis testing are required to obtain a work or residence visa. Travelers, including short-term travelers, may be detained or deported after arrival if found to be positive for HIV or hepatitis.