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 US 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).
South Korea (Republic of Korea) is an advanced economy classified as high income. Located in eastern Asia along the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea (south of North Korea), the climate classifications range from humid temperate in the south to humid cold (dry winter) in the north.
Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccination against COVID-19, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, Japanese encephalitis, measles, mumps, rubella, rabies, tick-borne encephalitis, 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 US Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
WHO—International Travel and Health (current online update, Country List)(2019) Limited Malaria risk due exclusively to P. vivax exists mainly in the northern areas of Gangwon-do and Gyeonggi-do provinces and in Incheon City (towards the demilitarized zone or DMZ).
- 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: Limited to the months of March–December in rural areas in the northern parts of Incheon, Kangwon-do, and Kyônggi-do Provinces, including the demilitarized zone (DMZ).
- Drug resistance3 : None.
- Malaria species: P. vivax 100%.
- Recommended chemoprophylaxis: Atovaquone-proguanil, chloroquine, doxycycline, mefloquine, primaquine,4 or tafenoquine.4
3 Refers to P. falciparum malaria unless otherwise noted.
4 Primaquine and tafenoquine can cause hemolytic anemia in people with G6PD deficiency. Patients must be screened for G6PD deficiency before starting primaquine or tafenoquine. See Tafenoquine Approved for Malaria Prophylaxis and Treatment for more information.
See also: Library article for Travelers' Diarrhea
Moderate risk exists throughout the country, with minimal risk in deluxe accommodations. Community sanitation and food safety measures may be inadequate. Some itineraries (e.g., remote destinations, austere accommodations) and activities (e.g., ecotourism, eating street or local-market food) further increase risk.
Travelers should observe food and beverage precautions, which 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.
Other Food-Borne Illnesses
Precautions to prevent seafood poisoning may be needed.
Insect- and Arthropod-Borne Diseases
Other Disease and Health Risks
The material below includes information from the US Department of State (DOS), the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development 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.
No intrinsic risk of attack by terrorist groups exists, but unforeseen attacks are possible.
Low risk of violent crime (sexual assault and assault) and low risk of petty crime exist throughout the country, mainly in Seoul and other cities, especially in areas frequented by tourists such as crowded entertainment, nightlife, and shopping districts.
Protests and demonstrations occur throughout the country, especially In Seoul, and are generally peaceful but have the potential to turn violent without warning. Bystanders are at risk of harm from violence or from the response by authorities. Disruption to transportation, free movement, or the ability to carry out daily activities may occur.
Rent water sports equipment from reputable operators. Scuba dive only with personnel certified by PADI or NAUI, and use equipment only from PADI- or NAUI-certified dive operators.
National incidence data on traffic-related injury or death are not available.
The US Federal Aviation Administration has determined that the civil aviation authority of this country oversees its air carriers in accordance with minimum international safety standards.
The typhoon season is from June through November. The monsoon season is from June through August. Floods, mudslides, and landslides may occur.
Selected Embassies or Consulates in South Korea
- United States: [+82] 2-397-4114; kr.usembassy.gov
- Canada: [+82] 2-3783-6000; www.korea.gc.ca
- United Kingdom: [+82] 2-3210-5500; www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-seoul
- Australia: [+82] 2-2003-0100; www.southkorea.embassy.gov.au
South Korea's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries
- In the U.S.: overseas.mofa.go.kr/us-ko/index.do
- In Canada: overseas.mofa.go.kr/ca-ko/index.do
- In the U.K.: overseas.mofa.go.kr/gb-ko/index.do
- In Australia: overseas.mofa.go.kr/au-ko/index.do
HIV testing is not required to obtain a tourist, work, or residence visa.