As the world continues to battle COVID-19 and the ever-spreading monkeypox virus, another disease appears to be gaining a foothold.
“Tomato flu” was first identified in India on May 6 and has so far infected 82 children, all under the age of five, according to a study in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.
Another 26 children up to the age of 10 are suspected cases.
Named after the red blisters that appear on the skin, the new virus is armed with fever and joint pain.
“As we deal with the potential emergence of the fourth wave of COVID-19, a new virus known as tomato flu, or tomato fever, has emerged in India in Kerala, India. Children under five years old,” The Lancet reported. .
“Rare viral infections are endemic and considered non-life-threatening; however, given the horrific experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, vigilant management is desirable to prevent further outbreaks.
The virus has so far been detected in the Kollam district of Kerala, India and the areas near Anchal, Aryankavu and Neduvathur.
“Children are at greater risk of contracting tomato flu because viral infection is common in this age group and spread is more likely to be through close contact,” the Lancet report adds.
Doctors say the infection, for which there is currently no medicine to combat it, is “highly contagious” and bears striking similarities to hand, foot and mouth disease.
“Given the similarities with FMD, if the childhood tomato influenza epidemic is not controlled and prevented, its transmission could have severe consequences by spreading also among adults,” the study adds.
Other reported symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and body aches.
Some cases, although few in number, have reported discoloration of the extremities.
“It is not a fatal disease, but it is contagious and can spread from person to person, although the actual ways of spreading the infection are still being studied,” said Dr Subhash Chandra, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Amrita Hospital. today.
“Patients who develop tomato fever should drink plenty of fluids and rest in bed, and other viral fevers are also recommended to maintain hydration and rest.”
Those infected with the virus are isolated for 5 to 7 days.
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