Indian health advisory for rare virus infecting children and more Latest News Here

The tomato flu – so called because of the painful red blisters it produces – has so far been detected in more than 100 children in three states since the first case was reported on May 6.

Hindustan Times | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

The emergence of a rare new viral infection that affects young children prompted Indian health authorities to issue a health advisory after more than 100 cases were discovered in the country.

Tomato flu – so called because of the painful red blisters it produces – has so far been detected in 82 children under the age of five in the state of Kerala, where the first case was detected on 6 may.

Since then, another 26 cases have been reported in neighboring Tamil Nadu state and Odisha in the east, where children as young as nine have been infected.

India’s health ministry has said the virus is not life-threatening, but issued testing and prevention guidelines to all states this week, urging parents to be extremely vigilant in checking their children for symptoms. , reported the Times of India.

What is tomato flu?

Tomato flu is a highly contagious viral infection, which is spread through close contact, especially among young children under five.

Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, dehydration, joint swelling, body aches, and common flu-like symptoms, as well as the eponymous tomato-like blisters.

Scientists are still trying to identify the route cause of the virus. However, they say “this is not related to SARS-CoV-2 [Covid-19]despite having similar symptoms, according to an article published last week in the British medical journal The Lancet.

More likely, the virus is a sequel to chikungunya or dengue fever, two mosquito-borne viral diseases.

Alternatively, it could be a new variant of viral hand-foot-mouth disease, a common infectious disease mainly targeting children aged one to five and immunocompromised adults.

Who can you catch it and how?

Children are at increased risk of being exposed to tomato flu because viral infections are common in this age group and spread is likely to be through close contact.

They are also at particularly high risk from using diapers, touching dirty surfaces, and putting objects directly into their mouths.

However, the elderly could be put at risk if the epidemic is not controlled and the transmission limited.

“Given the similarities to hand-foot-mouth disease, if the tomato flu outbreak in children is not controlled and prevented, transmission could have serious consequences by spreading to adults as well,” said the Lancet article.

Tomato flu is a self-limiting disease, meaning it tends to resolve on its own without treatment.

However, health officials have urged people to take precautionary measures to prevent the outbreak from spreading, including isolating suspected cases for five to seven days after symptoms appear.

“The best prevention solution is maintaining proper hygiene and disinfection of the surrounding necessities and environment, as well as preventing the infected child from sharing toys, clothes, food or ‘other articles with other uninfected children,’ the Lancet article said. .

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