cal care available in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou is considerably more advanced and accessible than in smaller towns or remote areas of the country. It is wise to meet with your personal physician in the United States before leaving to map out a health strategy for China. Incidentally, international direct dial telephone communication is now possible in many parts of China (although not in small towns or remote areas) and much anxiety can be relieved simply by knowing that your own doctor is still only a telephone call away. Most doctors will want to prescribe a range of medications for possible ailments in China, and anyone with chronic problems or serious allergies should plan to take along a full supply of medication and perhaps determine what to do should an emergency occur in China. Note that many common medications are not available in the PRC.
Your personal physician should also determine which immunizations to give you before departure—perhaps after consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (telephone: 404-639-3311) for their latest recommendations. China does not require immunizations unless a traveler enters from an area known to have cholera or yellow fever. However, booster vaccines should be current for diphtheria, tetanus, typhoid, and polio (primary series for polio and typhoid are recommended if you did not take them as a child). The hepatitis-B vaccine may also be recommended if you have not previously received it. The U.S. Embassy suggests having a TB skin test every year. Measles, mumps, and rubella are not controlled in developing countries, and pregnant women should be immunized against rubella.
Viral hepatitis (type A) is widespread in China and many doctors recommend gamma globulin as a prophylaxis for long-term visitors. Gamma globulin is effective only for four to six months and is not ordinarily available in Chinese hospitals. Some long-term residents bring in the serum and arrange to store it. However, the International Medical Center in Beijing now offers the vaccination to U.S. citizens in China for approximately $100 a shot. The dosage is good for six months. The International Medical Center is located at:
Beijing Lufthansa Center
Office/Apartment Bldg., Room S106
No. 50 Liangmaqiao Road
Telephone: (86) 1-465-1561
FAX: (86) 1-465-1984
If you will be in China during the warm months, especially outside large urban areas, either you or your doctor should check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine whether malaria is endemic where you will be and, if so, what strain is present. Depend-