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What is Tomato Flu?

Tomato Flu or Tomato Fever

Tomato flu is an illness identified by rashes and symptoms resembling the flu, and it notably affects children. Initially, there was uncertainty regarding the cause of the disease, but it has since been verified as an enterovirus-related ailment in the United Kingdom. This ailment primarily impacts children who are under the age of 5. The virus has limited potential to evolve into a pandemic because of its low virulence, rapid spread, and significant levels of inaction.

CA16 is one of the major pathogens associated with hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) in infants and young children. However, scientists are still trying to understand the pathogen. The infection produces an eruption of red blisters which later grow and transform to tomato size, given the name Tomato Flu.

Tomato Flu Symptoms

Typically, the ailment commences with a slight fever, diminished appetite, a sense of unwellness, and a sore throat. Within 1 or 2 days thereafter, small red spots emerge, which eventually evolve into the distinctive large blisters resembling tomatoes. (for more info)

Key clinical indicators of Tomato flu closely resemble those of chikungunya, encompassing:

Transmission of Tomato Flu

Infection can occur in humans through direct contact with the contagious virus, which is found in the saliva, blister fluid, nasal and throat secretions, and faeces of infected individuals. The virus is commonly transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces. Even though patients typically recover on their own within 7 to 10 days, the virus remains highly contagious even after symptoms have resolved.

Tomato Flu Medicine

As a novel form of HFMD, there is no specific treatment for this condition, but similar to other flu-like illnesses, antipyretics and analgesics are usually recommended.

The first case of Tomato Flu in Kerala?

The initial instance of Tomato flu, also referred to as Tomato fever, was first documented in May 2022 in the Kollam district of Kerala, India. This index case involved a 4-year-old child hailing from a village located near the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, with the report being filed on May 6, 2022. Following this, additional cases have emerged in both Tamil Nadu and Odisha states in India, as well as in the United Kingdom. Within a span of two months, the disease has affected over 80 young children under the age of 5, along with adults possessing weakened immune systems.

Tests for Tomato Flu

In the process of examining this ailment, molecular and serological tests are conducted to eliminate the possibility of dengue fever, chikungunya, the Zika virus, varicella-zoster virus, and herpes. Once these conditions are ruled out, a diagnosis of ‘tomato flu’ is made.

Causes of Tomato flu

The precise source of the infection remains undisclosed, and researchers are actively probing the organism accountable for tomato flu. Since it is a communicable ailment, healthcare professionals recommend taking preventive actions to minimize the risk of contracting the infection. (for more info)

Tomato flu prevention

  1. Refrain from close contact with individuals who are infected.
  2. Educate your child regarding the symptoms and potential side effects.
  3. Encourage your child not to hug or touch those displaying signs of fever or rashes.
  4. Promote good hygiene practices and discourage thumb or finger-sucking habits.
  5. Advise your child to use a handkerchief when they have a runny nose or cough to prevent the disease from spreading.
  6. Avoid scratching or rubbing blisters and remember to wash your hands each time you touch them.
  7. Ensure your child stays hydrated by motivating them to consume ample water, milk, or juice based on their preferences.
  8. If your child exhibits symptoms of Tomato fever, promptly isolate them from other children to prevent the spread of the disease.
  9. Regularly separate and sanitize utensils, clothing, and other everyday items.
  10. Always use warm water when cleaning the skin or bathing your child.
  11. Maintain a balanced, nutrition-rich diet to boost immunity.
  12. Ensure your child gets adequate rest and sleep to aid in the healing process.


For more information on Tomato Flu: tomato flu prevention – Google Scholar

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