Amid monkeypox, Covid spread, concerns over ‘tomato fever’: Know the symptoms

Published on Jul 24, 2022 04:25 PM IST

So far, tomato fever has been reported in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. Although authorities are on alert over its spread, they have asked people not to create panic.

A hospital worker (AFP file)
A hospital worker (AFP file)

First we had coronavirus, then scare over monkeypox spread, and now a new virus causing - ‘tomato fever’ or ‘tomato flu’ - is raising concern. The first case of tomato fever was found in a group of about 80 children in Kerala on May 11, becoming endemic to the state. However, since then, the flu has spread to other states, including neighbouring Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, raising an alarm.

Here's everything you need to know about the disease:

What is tomato fever?

Tomato flu or tomato fever is a rare viral disease – also known as the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) – which is said to cause red-coloured rashes, skin irritation and dehydration.

The infection has nothing to do with tomatoes but gets its name from the reddish blisters it causes – which look like tomatoes. It is contagious and has been known to affect children under the age of five.

Symptoms of tomato fever

Apart from rashes and skin irritations, here are some common symptoms of the viral disease that have been observed:

  • High fever
  • Body ache
  • Joint swelling
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue

“Fever, painful sores in the mouth, a rash with blisters on hands, feet, and buttocks, tiredness, joint pain, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, high fever, and body aches, are some of the signs of tomato flu. They are similar to the symptoms of chikungunya. Additionally, this flu can affect the child’s ability to do his/her daily activities with ease,” said Dr Jagdish Kathwate, Consultant Neonatologist, and Paediatrician, Motherhood Hospital, Pune, speaking to HT Media platform HealthShots.

How to prevent and recover from tomato fever?

Like most viral diseases, tomato fever can be prevented by avoiding contact with infected persons or contaminated surfaces.

According to experts, an infected child must avoid scratching the blisters and maintain cleanliness and hygiene. Proper rest along with proper hydration is advised to recover from the viral disease.

Which states are affected by tomato fever?

Cases of tomato flu were initially reported from Aryankavu, Anchal and Neduvathur in Kerala.

It was also reported from border districts of Karnataka – in Mangaluru (Dakshina Kannada), Udupi, Kodagu, Chamrajnagara and Mysuru. Authorities were directed to keep a vigil on daily travellers from Kerala and also monitor children for any of the aforementioned signs and symptoms.

“These symptoms are usually seen in other types of viral infections also. There is no need to panic as the authorities have been asked to remain alert,” Karnataka health minister K Sudhakar was quoted as saying by PTI in May.

Later, in Odisha too, more than two dozen children were diagnosed with tomato fever. The cases were found in Bhubaneswar, Puri and Cuttack area.

(With PTI inputs)

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