Tomato flu — so named for the painful red blisters it produces — has so far been detected in more than 100 children in three states since the first case was reported on May 6.
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The emergence of a rare new viral infection affecting young children has prompted health authorities in India to issue a health advisory after more than 100 cases were discovered in the country.
Tomato flu — so named for the painful red blisters it causes — has so far been detected in 82 children under the age of five in the state of Kerala, where the first case was discovered on May 6.
Since then, a further 26 cases have been reported in the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu and Odisha in the east, where children as young as nine have been infected.
India’s health ministry has said the virus is not life-threatening but issued testing and prevention guidelines to all states this week, urging parents to be extra vigilant when monitoring their children for symptoms, the Times reported. or India.
What is tomato flu?
Tomato flu is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads through close contact, especially among young children under the age of five.
Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, dehydration, joint swelling, body aches and common flu-like symptoms, as well as the tomato-like blisters of the same name.
Scientists are still trying to figure out the cause of the virus. However, they say “it is not related to SARS-CoV-2” [Covid-19]despite exhibiting some similar symptoms, according to an article published last week in the British medical journal The Lancet.
More likely, the virus is an aftereffect of chikungunya or dengue fever, two viral diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.
Alternatively, it could be a new variant of the viral hand, foot and mouth disease, a common infectious disease that primarily targets children aged one to five and immunocompromised adults.
Who can you catch and how?
Children are at increased risk of exposure to tomato flu, as viral infections are common in this age group and are likely to spread through close contact.
They are also at particularly high risk from using diapers, touching unclean surfaces, and putting things directly in their mouths.
However, older adults can be put at risk if the outbreak is not controlled and transmission is not restricted.
“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,” the Lancet article said.
Tomato flu is a self-limiting disease, meaning it tends to resolve spontaneously without treatment.
However, health officials have urged people to take precautions to prevent the outbreak’s spread, including isolating suspected cases for five to seven days after symptoms begin.
“The best solution for prevention is to maintain good hygiene and decontamination of the surrounding supplies and environment, as well as prevent the infected child from sharing toys, clothing, food or other items with other uninfected children,” the Lancet article said. . .