Friday, September 30, 2022

Tomato flu, a new disease affecting children in India and which can be very contagious

A new viral disease has emerged in the Indian state of Kerala, where there has been an outbreak affecting children under the age of five. transition, name tomato fluStill in an endemic state and not considered life threatening, but after the tragic experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts call for closer epidemiological surveillance.

This has been revealed in an article published on the 17th of this month in the prestigious scientific journal the Lancet by scientists from LJ University (Gujarat, India) and Victoria University (Australia), which provides first description of the disease in question.

Also, this Friday, August 19, an article in another special media Journal of Pediatric Infectious Diseasesdescribed two additional cases Found in two siblings in the United Kingdom, a 13-month-old boy and a 5-year-old girl, who had just returned from family leave in Kerala a week before the onset of symptoms.

Monkey Pox.

What is tomato flu?

As the authors describing Indian affairs point out, it is not entirely clear whether viral species Cause of disease: For example, it is believed that it may be the result of chikungunya or dengue fever or that it is a variant of one of the foot and mouth disease viruses (belonging to the genus Enterovirus). Be that as it may, they highlight, it is clear that the virus is not related to SARS-CoV-2, even though some symptoms of infection are common to COVID-19.

For their part, the doctors reporting the cases in the United Kingdom confirm the infection will be due to Enterovirus CA16, for which the analyzes on patients were positive. Notably, a genetic analysis revealed similarity with a clade previously found in China between 2011 and 2014.

Vaccination center in Murcia against monkeypox

Tomato flu has been detected for the first time in the district kollam (Kerala, India) On May 6 this year, and till July 26, 108 cases were detected in the country, all in children below 9 years of age and located in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. To these should be added two patients from the United Kingdom.

In Indian children, the primary symptoms observed are reminiscent of chikungunya: high fever, severe joint pain, and a characteristic skin rash. red, painful blisters Which gradually becomes the size of a tomato which gives its name to this pathology. In fact, researchers have noted that these blisters are reminiscent of those seen in younger patients with monkeypox.

In more detail, in British cases, the skin rashes lasted up to six days in the boy’s case and 16 days in the girl’s case, in which they were also more inflamed and accompanied by painful oral sores, However, neither brother developed systemic symptoms.

loss Secondary symptoms observed in KeralaMeanwhile, the viral infection has typical symptoms and includes fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, swollen joints, body aches and flu-like symptoms due to dengue. With this in mind, it is necessary to rule out serological and molecular tests for dengue, chikungunya, zika, varicella-zoster and shingles to reach a diagnosis in children.

A tiger mosquito, carrier of many diseases.

So far, treatment strategies have included: patient isolationUse warm water with a sponge for comfort, fluid replacement, and relief from burns and rashes. In addition, he says, adjuvant therapy with paracetamol is needed to relieve fever and pain. Fortunately, the disease appears to be self-limiting.

epidemiological concern

For now, it is believed that the reason all patients are children is in the form of contagion, bearing in mind that this is an age group that is particularly vulnerable to viral infections. Thus, the virus is probably transmitted by close contact, for which it is believed that factors such as diaper use, exposure to dirty surfaces or putting objects in the mouth may contribute. In any case, and noting the similarities with foot-and-mouth disease, the authors of the work warn that, if outbreaks are not controlled, the disease can spread to adults and cause serious consequences. could.

In this context, isolation of the sick is considered necessary. Like other flu diseases, Tomato flu is very contagious And experts are strongly calling for measures to prevent the outbreak from spreading from Kerala to other parts of India. For this reason, they recommend observing isolation between 5 and 7 days from the onset of symptoms and taking care of hygiene in the environment and in objects that have been in contact with infected children.


for now, There is no vaccine or antiviral drug Tomato is suitable for the treatment or prevention of flu, and monitoring and follow-up of potentially serious consequences will be necessary to fully understand the need for potential treatments.


Vivek P. Chavda, Kaushika Patel, Vaso Apostopoulos. Tomato flu outbreak in India The Lancet Respiratory Medicine (2022). DOI:

Tang, Julian W. BA, MA, MBChB, PhD, MRCP, FRCPath; Iqbal, Aitka MD; Hamal, Shama MD; Mohammedanif, Tarannum BSc; Tipping, Leah F. MSc; Tovey, Oliver TR MD; Selma, Christina C. PHD; Beard, Stuart PhD; Barr, Michael R. MD, PhD. Kerala Tomato Flu – Manifestation of hand foot and mouth disease, Journal of Pediatric Infectious Diseases (2022). DOI: 10.1097/INF.0000000000003668

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