“Tomato flu” was first identified in India on May 6 of this year and has so far infected 82 children, all under the age of 5. The ruling class has described it as “very contagious.”
According to a study by the Lancet Respiratory Medicine Journal, a further 26 kids up to the age of 10 are suspected of having cases of tomato flu. This virus was named for the red blisters that appear on the skin after infection. The blisters are coupled with other symptoms such as fever and joint pain. In addition to the virus being very contagious, it seems similar to hand, foot, and mouth disease. Other reported symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and body aches.
“Just as we are dealing with the probable emergence of 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 younger than 5 years,” the Lancet reported. “The rare viral infection is in an endemic state and is considered non-life-threatening; however, because of the dreadful experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, vigilant management is desirable to prevent further outbreaks.”
“Children are at increased risk of exposure to tomato flu as viral infections are common in this age group and spread is likely to be through close contact,” Lancet’s report added. “Given the similarities to hand, foot, and mouth disease, if the outbreak of tomato flu in children is not controlled and prevented, transmission might lead to serious consequences by spreading in adults as well,” the study added.
Those who contract the virus are placed in isolation for 5 to 7 days, according to a report by The New York Post.
Writing in The Lancet, medics said: “Children are at increased risk of exposure to tomato flu as viral infections are common in this age group and spread is likely to be through close contact. Young children are also prone to this infection through use of nappies, touching unclean surfaces, as well as putting things directly into the mouth.”