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Going viral around the globe


With swine flu getting all the media attention this year, outbreaks of these five other equally serious diseases have gone relatively unnoticed.


On the rise in: Australia, with a concentration around Sydney.

Effects: Similar to a bad cold and fever, accompanied by a severe cough with a whooping sound.

What to do: Keep up to date with your immunizations. A highly contagious respiratory infection, pertussis is spread through coughing or sneezing.


On the rise in: Asia, especially China.

Effects: Fever, skin rash with blisters, sores in the mouth.

What to do: There's no vaccine for HFMD, which mainly affects children under 10. It's spread by contact with unwashed hands or contaminated surfaces, so don't share eating utensils and make sure to wash up often.


On the rise in: Parts of Asia, including India and Thailand.

Effects: Fever, chills, vomiting, headache, and joint pain.

What to do: Like malaria and dengue, chikungunya is spread by mosquito bite, so use an insect repellent with deet. If you're also using sunscreen, apply it first; the bug spray will be more effective.


On the rise in: Bali, particularly near the airport in Denpasar.

Effects: A coma and death are likely. The vaccine alone may cause nausea, vomiting, headache, and dizziness.

What to do: Keep your distance from animals—dogs, cats, monkeys, and mongooses, all of which can spread rabies through their bites. If you're bitten, wash the wound immediately with soap and water and find out about the animal's vaccination history, if possible. See a doctor and follow the recommendations, which may include a series of vaccinations.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention