As the world continues its battle against COVID-19 and the ever-spreading monkeypox virus, it seems as if a new disease is taking hold.
“Tomato flu” was first diagnosed in India on May 6 and has so far infected 82 children, all of whom are under the age of 5, according to a study by the Lancet Respiratory Medicine Journal.
Another 26 children under the age of 10 are suspected of having tomato flu.
Appropriately named for the red blisters that appear on the skin, the new virus comes armed with a fever and joint pain.
“Just as we are dealing with the likely emergence of the 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 under the age of 5,” the report said. Lancet. .
“The rare viral infection is endemic and is considered non-life-threatening; however, due to the terrible experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, vigilant management is desirable to prevent further outbreaks.”
The virus has so far been found in the Kollam district of Kerala, India, and the nearby areas of Anchal, Aryankavu and Neduvathur.
“Children are at increased risk of exposure to tomato flu, as viral infections are common in this age group and the spread is likely through close contact,” the Lancet report added.
Doctors say the infection, which currently has no drug to fight it, is “highly contagious” and bears striking similarities to hand, foot and mouth disease.
“Given the similarities with hand, foot and mouth disease, if the tomato flu outbreak in children is not controlled and prevented, transmission could have serious consequences in adults by spreading,” the study added.
Other reported symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and body aches.
Some cases, albeit very few, reported a change in the color of the limbs.
“It is not a fatal disease, but it is contagious and can spread from person to person, although the actual ways in which the infection spreads are still being studied,” Dr. Subhash Chandra, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at Amrita Hospital in India Today.
“Patients who develop tomato fever should drink plenty of fluids and rest in bed, as is also advised for other viral fevers, to keep the body hydrated and well-rested.”
Those who contract the virus are placed in isolation for 5 to 7 days.