Tomato flu: everything we know so far about the disease

Doctors linked the alert to a new viral infection that is gaining ground in India. Tomato flu, as it is called, is a variant of hand-foot-mouth disease, which can be caused by different enteroviruses.

According Lancet Respiratory Diary, cases of ‘tomato flu’ were first reported in Kollam, Kerala on May 6 and have so far infected 82 children. These children are under 5 years old.

The infectious disease is caused by intestinal viruses and is rare in adults, as they usually have a strong enough immune system to defend them against the virus.

Tomato flu gets its name from the painful red blisters that appear on the body and gradually grow in size until they look like tomatoes.

Tomato Flu Signs and Symptoms

The main signs and symptoms of tomato flu in children are high fever, rash, joint pain, body aches, fatigue, swollen joints, nausea, diarrhea and dehydration.

diagnosis and treatment

Patients with the listed symptoms undergo molecular and serological testing for herpes, varicella zoster, varicella zoster virus, dengue, and yellow fever. The presence of the tomato virus is checked once these viral diseases have been ruled out.

There are no specific medications for tomato flu. Contaminated children should be isolated, rest and drink plenty of fluids. Paracetamol is indicated to control fever and body aches.

How is the virus transmitted?

The disease is transmitted from one person to another like the common cold, by close contact, contact with secretions (in particular the nose and throat), including feces, for example during diaper changes in day care centres.

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