Warning as new ‘tomato flu’ virus infects 82 children, leaving painful blisters in their wake

A NEW disease called “tomato flu” poses a threat to young children.

The virus has been found in 80 children in India, causing a red rash and symptoms similar to other fever-causing bugs.

"tomato flu" causes red and painful blisters the size of tomatoes. It's similar to monkeypox, experts say


The “tomato flu” causes red and painful blisters that grow as big as tomatoes. It’s similar to monkeypox, experts sayPhoto credit: Shutterstock

In the medical journal The Lancet, doctors write that it is “very contagious” and fear it will spread to adults.

They said: “Tomato flu got its name from outbreaks of red and painful blisters throughout the body that gradually enlarge to the size of a tomato.

“With tomato flu, there are also rashes on the skin that cause skin irritation.

“As with other viral infections, other symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, dehydration, joint swelling, body aches and common flu-like symptoms…”

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They compared the rash’s blisters to those of monkeypox and the febrile symptoms to dengue, chikungunya and hand, foot and mouth disease.

In fact, they said it could be an “aftermath” of the last three rather than a mistake of their own.

Researchers are still trying to figure out what exactly triggers the symptoms.

Health Minister Dr. J Radhakrishnan claimed the infection was a new variant of hand, foot and mouth disease, local media reports.

So far, health authorities have reported 82 cases between May and July 2022, all of which were less than five years old.

So far, however, there is no evidence that the disease is serious or life-threatening and the children have been treated with the usual means – acetaminophen, rest and plenty of fluids.

Regardless, experts said children should isolate for up to seven days from the onset of their symptoms to stop the virus from spreading further.

Tomato flu was first detected in Kollam district of Kerala, southern India, before spreading to the region.

Three of the 28 Indian states are affected.

The Lancet paper 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 occur through close contact.

“Young children are also susceptible to this infection if they wear diapers, touch unclean surfaces and put things directly in their mouths.

“Given the similarities to hand, foot, and mouth disease, transmission could have serious consequences in adults as well, if tomato flu outbreaks in children are not controlled and prevented.”

It comes after China sounded the alarm about Langya virus, a never-before-seen version of the henipavirus family.

It has so far infected 35 people in two provinces in east China, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said.

https://www.the-sun.com/health/6028085/warning-new-tomato-flu-virus-painful-blisters/ Warning as new ‘tomato flu’ virus infects 82 children, leaving painful blisters in their wake

Sarah Y. Kim

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