A new infection dubbed tomato flu, or tomato fever, has been detected in India mostly among children younger than five, according to a report in the Lancet Respiratory Journal.
- The infection has been named ‘tomato flu’ because of the red, painful blisters that appear on a patient’s body and gradually enlarge to the size of a tomato.
- The “non-life-threatening” virus was first identified in Kollam district of Kerala on May 6.
- The primary symptoms of tomato flu are similar to those of chikungunya, which include high fever, rashes, and intense pain in the joints.
- As with other viral infections, further symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, swelling of joints, body aches, and common influenza-like symptoms, which are similar to those manifested in dengue.
- As tomato flu is similar to chikungunya and dengue as well as hand, foot, and mouth disease, the treatment is also similar — isolation, rest, plenty of fluids, and hot water sponge for the relief of irritation and rashes.
- Supportive therapy of paracetamol for fever and body ache and other symptomatic treatments may be required.
- Young children are also prone to this infection through the use of nappies, touching unclean surfaces, and putting things directly into the mouth.
- The ‘tomato flu’ is caused by Coxsackie virus A 16. It belongs to Enterovirus family.