Tomato flu spreading in India - Lancet warns

Tags: Science and Technology

Following the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing monkeypox, the Lancet has warned India about a new infectious disease, Tomato Flu or Tomato Fever.


  • It was first identified in the Kollam district of Kerala on May 6, 2022.
  • On July 26 in local government hospitals, more than 82 children under the age of 5 have been confirmed to be infected with the disease.

  • This endemic viral disease has put the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on alert.

  • In addition, 26 children (1-9 years of age) have been confirmed for the disease by the Regional Medical Research Centre, Bhubaneswar in Odisha.

What is Tomato Flu ?

  • It is a rare viral disease that causes red blisters, skin irritation and dehydration. 

  • The blisters that occur in this disease look like a tomato, hence it is called tomato flu.

  • It is a form of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

  • It is caused by Coxsackie virus A 16. It belongs to Enterovirus family.

  • The disease is rare in adults because they usually have an immune system strong enough to defend against the virus.

Symptoms of the disease :

  • Blisters

  • Diarrhoea

  • Dehydration

  • In some cases, the discoloration of the hands and knees also fades.

Treatment of the disease :

  • It is a self-limiting disease and there are no specific drugs for it.

  • It is similar to chikungunya and dengue, utensils, clothes and other items used by the infected persons must be sanitised to prevent the flu from spreading. 

  • Fluid intake should be increased to counter dehydration.

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