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Travel Health:

There have been confirmed cases of Swine Flu in Mainland China. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from infected areas. There is a risk of malaria throughout the low-lying areas of the country, and it is recommended that travellers to China seek medical advice before departure. A total of 18 human cases of avian influenza ('bird flu') have been reported from China since November 2005. Twelve of the cases were fatal. Travellers are unlikely to be affected by bird flu, but live animal markets and places where contact with live poultry is possible should be avoided. All poultry and egg dishes should also be thoroughly cooked. Outbreaks of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) are few and far between, although the last fatality was in 2008. Travellers are warned to remain vigilant against this viral disease. Japanese encephalitis has been responsible for the deaths of a number of people in the Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces in northern China, and rabies infects people every year, occasionally causing death. Outbreaks of dengue fever occur. A variant of hand, foot and mouth disease, an intestinal virus has also been prevalent in 2008, with children being at particular risk. Altitude sickness can occur in the mountainous regions of Tibet, Qinghai, parts of Xinjiang, and western Sichuan. Outside city centres, visitors should only drink bottled water. Western-style medical centres with international staff are available in the major cities and usually accept credit cards. Health insurance is recommended.

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