A new virus known as tomato flu or tomato fever has emerged in children under 5 years of age in the state of Kerala on the Indiapublished the medical journal The Lancet in a recent article.
The rare viral infection is in an endemic state and is considered not life-threatening; however, due to the experience of the pandemic COVID-19which is already in its fourth wave, specialists recommend being attentive to this disease to avoid new outbreaks.
Although the virus tomato flu shows symptoms similar to those of COVID-19the virus is not related to the SARS-CoV-2. This disease could be a side effect of chikungunya fever or of dengue in the kids instead of a viral infection.
How did tomato flu get its name?
The tomato flu got its name because of the red, painful blistering rash throughout the body that gradually increase to the size of a tomato. These blisters resemble those seen with monkeypox virus in young individuals.
What are the symptoms of tomato flu and who does it affect?
The initial symptoms of tomato fever are associated with fever, fatigue, and body achesand some COVID-19 patients also report skin rash that cause irritation. As with other viral infections, other symptoms include:
- joint swelling
- body aches
- Influenza-like symptoms and dengue
The virus could be new variant of viral hand, foot and mouth diseasethat mainly affects children aged 1 to 5 years and immunocompromised adults. Currently, there is no specific drug to treat it.
Where was this new and rare disease identified?
The tomato flu was first identified in Kollam district of Kerala on May 6 and through July 26, 2022, local government hospitals have reported more than 82 children under 5 years of age with the infection.
The other affected areas of Kerala are Anchal, Aryankavu and Neduvathur. This endemic viral disease triggered an alert to the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Furthermore, the Regional Medical Research Center in Bhubaneswar has reported that 26 children from 1 to 9 years old they have the disease in Odisha.
The Department of Health Kerala take precautionary measures to control the spread of the viral infection and prevent its spread to other parts of the India. The main symptoms seen in children are similar to chikungunyaincluding high fever, rashes, and severe pain in joints.
What precautions prevent contagion from the tomato flu?
Like other types of influenza, the tomato flu is very contagious, so it is mandatory to follow a careful isolation in confirmed or suspected cases; other precautionary measures to prevent an outbreak of the virus in other parts of India.
The infected must follow a isolation for 5 to 7 days from the onset of symptoms to avoid spreading the infection to other children or adults. The best prevention is the maintenance of hygiene and disinfection and preventing the infected child from sharing toys, clothing, food, or other items. For more information we leave you the article complete.