Reports of ‘tomato flu’ outbreak in India not due to new virus, doctors say

Indian boy wearing a mask (illustration/stock image)

A “new virus” called tomato flu has been reported in Kerala, India.


According to an article by Lancet Respiratory Medicine, the first case of the mystery disease was reported on May 6. There have been more than 80 cases as the disease has spread to other parts of India.

most infected are children under the age of 5, with symptoms such as high fever, severe joint pain and rash. The children also suffered from a rash with painful red blisters that grew to the size of tomatoes, hence the name.

Although the children are not feeling well, no cases of serious illness or death have been reported so far. Looks like they’re all on the mend.

The doctors who treated the children weren’t sure what was causing this disease. The temperature and pain could be due to various infections. They speculated that this could be the result of some exotic mosquito-borne viruses, such as dengue fever and chikungunya, or even monkeypox.

They thought the unusual tomato-shaped rash might be happening because children react differently to infections after contracting Covid-19.

Mystery solved

Scientists tested samples taken from children who had the tomato flu to try to determine the cause of the disease.

Two children in the UK who showed suspicious symptoms of tomato flu after returning from a family holiday from Kerala have been tested. Laboratory results revealed that they were infected with a enterovirus called coxsackie A16.

The coxsackie A16 causes hand-foot-mouth diseaseso called because the patient has blisters on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and in the mouth.

So it seems that tomato flu is actually hand-foot-mouth disease. It’s not a type of flu, it has nothing to do with tomatoes, and it’s not a new virus.

Like many childhood infections, it is highly contagious and can be spread through contact with feces and bodily fluids.

Fonte: The Conversation

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