In the midst of dealing with COVID-19 and more recently monkeypox, a new disease has struck – tomato flu. This viral infection that mostly affects children aged 1-10 is seeing a rise in the country.
In India, the emergence of a new viral infection has been reported by The Lancet, the world’s largest independent medical journal. Thus far, over 82 children under the age of five have been afflicted by the tomato flu across the country. The first case appeared in Kerala on May 6 and has since spread to other regions.
The Health Minister has shared that the tomato flu affects child under the age of five and is currently an endemic in regions of Kerala. Additionally, District Health Officers (DHOs) will be monitoring the situation and reporting new developments as they appear.
Tomato flu is unrelated to Covid-19. Affects children below 5 yrs; Symptoms include large red blisters. No need to panic, as it is endemic to parts of Kerala.
DHO’s bordering Kerala have been advised to strictly monitor the situation and report any untoward developments.
— Dr Sudhakar K (@mla_sudhakar) May 11, 2022
“Just as we are dealing with the probable emergence of fourth wave of COVID-19, a new virus known as tomato flu, or tomato fever, has emerged in India in the state of Kerala in children younger than 5 years,” the Lancet Journal wrote on its website.
This uncommon viral disease mimics some symptomatology of both COVID-19 and the monkeypox virus. Tomato fever or tomato flu creates red rashes, skin irritation, and dehydration.
“Tomato flu gained its name on the basis of the eruption of red and painful blisters throughout the body that gradually enlarge to the size of a tomato. These blisters resemble those seen with the monkeypox virus in young individuals,” the Lancet Journal added.
The Gateway Pundit pointed out:
Although the symptoms of the tomato flu virus are comparable to those of COVID-19 (both are linked with fever, exhaustion, and body aches initially, and some patients with COVID-19 also report rashes on the skin), the virus is not connected to SARS-CoV-2 according to the experts.
The actual cause of the disease is still unknown.
The experts are speculating about the new disease, claiming that it could be an after-effect of chikungunya or dengue fever, or it could be a new variant of the viral hand, foot, and mouth disease.
“Tomato flu could be an after-effect of chikungunya or dengue fever in children rather than a viral infection,” Lancet Journal stated.
“The virus could also be a new variant of the viral hand, foot, and mouth disease, a common infectious disease targeting mostly children aged 1–5 years and immunocompromised adults, and some case studies have even shown hand, foot, and mouth disease in immunocompetent adults.”
‘Sri Sri Holistic Hospital’ has provided the primary Tomato flu virus symptoms:
- Tomato-like red blisters
- High fever
- Swelling in the joints
- Body ache
Some other symptoms include:
- Discoloration of hands, knees, and buttocks
- Abdominal cramps
- Runny nose
The Lancet Journal offered additional details on the virus:
“Children are at increased risk of exposure to tomato flu as viral infections are common in this age group and spread is likely to be through close contact.”
The tomato flu is a self-limiting condition, and there is currently no medication that can be used to treat it, according to Lancet Journal.
“Drug repurposing and vaccination are the most efficacious and cost-effective approaches to ensure the safety of public health from viral infections, especially in children, older people, immunocompromised people, and those with underlying health issues. As yet, no antiviral drugs or vaccines are available for the treatment or prevention of tomato flu. Further follow-up and monitoring for serious outcomes and sequelae is needed to better understand the need for potential treatments.”
“Similar to other types of influenza, tomato flu is very contagious. Hence, it is mandatory to follow careful isolation of confirmed or suspected cases and other precautionary steps to prevent the outbreak of the tomato flu virus from Kerala to other parts of India.
“Isolation should be followed for 5–7 days from symptom onset to prevent the spread of infection to other children or adults. The best solution for prevention is the maintenance of proper hygiene and sanitisation of the surrounding necessities and environment as well as preventing the infected child from sharing toys, clothes, food, or other items with other non-infected children,” according to the experts.
Sources: TheGatewayPundit, Lancet Journal, Sri Sri Holistic Hospital, Lancet