Explained: What is tomato flu and should you be worried?

It is caused by the family of viruses but there is no definite evidence to confirm the existence of the tomato flu virus. Blisters and rashes appear all over the body and they enlarge and grow to a large size, making them look like a tomato. These rashes also lead to skin irritation.

By KANIZA GARARI  Published on  27 Aug 2022 3:00 AM GMT
Explained: What is tomato flu and should you be worried?

Hyderabad: The eruption of red and painful blisters throughout the body that grows to the size of a tomato is being called 'Tomato Flu'. There are 82 children in India, mostly from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Odisha, who are now suffering from tomato flu.

So, what is tomato flu?

It is caused by the family of viruses but there is no definite evidence to confirm the existence of the tomato flu virus. Blisters and rashes appear all over the body and they enlarge and grow to a large size, making them look like a tomato. These rashes also lead to skin irritation.

Rashes and blisters are seen in other diseases also, like monkeypox, chicken pox, chikungunya, dengue, and hand foot, and mouth disease.

Other symptoms of tomato flu include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, swelling of joints, body aches, and common influenza-like symptoms.

Dr. T. Narasinga Reddy, former national vice-president of the Indian Medical Association, says, "These are blisters which occur due to different viruses. In children with these symptoms, molecular and serological tests are done for the diagnosis of dengue, chikungunya, zika virus, varicella-zoster virus, and herpes. Once these viral infections are ruled out, the contraction of the tomato virus is confirmed. Because tomato flu is similar to chikungunya and dengue as well as hand, foot, and mouth disease, the mode of treatment is also similar to any other viral infection."

Doctors advise isolation, rest, plenty of fluids, and hot water sponge for relief from irritation and rashes.

Dr. J. Anish Anand, consultant of internal medicine at Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills, explains, "This is not dangerous and not as fast spreading as Covid-19. Neither is it life-threatening. It is a self-limiting disease and is cured in a few days. The only care that must be taken is of hygiene and also isolating children as they can get infected."

More children are being infected with this virus than adults.

Dr. Sravani Reddy Karumuru, a consultant general physician at Renova Hospitals, says, "Tomato flu is the name given only in India. There are no international or national medical journals or World Health Organisation and Centre for Disease Control documents that mention any flu named tomato."

Next Story
Share it