People have been more worried than ever about potential disease risks ever since COVID-19 was proclaimed a global pandemic.

According to a recent communication published in The LancetTrusted Source, the most current of these is known as “tomato flu,” and it has reportedly impacted over 100 youngsters in India.

According to the authors, the first case of tomato flu, most likely a viral illness, was discovered on May 6, 2022, in Kerala, India’s Kollam district.

The sickness is not thought to be life-threatening, and it eventually goes away on its own, according to The Lancet.

Tomato flu signs and symptoms

According to The Lancet, the principal symptoms seen in infected youngsters are similar to those of the mosquito-borne illness chikungunyaTrusted Source and include a high fever, rashes, and excruciating joint pain.

Other symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, dehydration, swelling of the joints, body aches, and general flu-like symptoms, which are similar to those of dengue, another mosquito-borne disease.

According to Hannah Newman, MPH, director of infection prevention at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, “transmission is likely to occur through close contact.”

According to Newman, the virus was given the moniker “tomato flu” because of the red, uncomfortable blisters it produces, which can resemble tomatoes in appearance and size.

Although the illness is not regarded to be life-threatening, she noted it can nonetheless result in a painful rash, fevers, and joint discomfort.

The cause is not yet known

Robert Glatter, MD, a physician in the emergency room at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital, said that “we don’t know exactly what’s causing the sickness.” But it’s probably a mosquito-borne disease like dengue or chikungunya, or a variation of hand, foot, and mouth disease.

The Lancet correspondence’s authors speculate that this illness could be a brand-new variety of hand, foot, and mouth diseases. The etiology of hand, foot, and mouth disease is an enterovirus infection, of which one of the subtypes is the coxsackievirus, which also results in a rash that resembles a blister.

Newman cautioned that because the virus is contagious, there is a chance that the illness would spread outside of India.

Routine air travel might bring a new virus practically anyplace, and it might start harming elderly people, similar to what happened with COVID-19 and monkeypox.

If the tomato flu pandemic in children is not contained and halted, transmission might have major repercussions by spreading to adults as well, the correspondence’s authors earned trusted Source given the similarity to hand, foot, and mouth illness.

Transmitted by surfaces and close contact

Similar to monkeypox, it is also thought to spread by touch with an infected person’s clothing, bedding, towels, sheets, toys, books, or other nonporous surfaces.

Despite the possibility that the tomato flu virus is an adaptation or “after-effect” of hand, foot, and mouth disease, he continued, there is no proof that the illness is conveyed through the air or even through droplets, according to the Lancet report.

In addition, according to Glatter, the endemic diseases of dengue and chikungunya in the area may put older people and young children at risk for the tomato virus.

Because after healing from these mosquito-borne illnesses, their immune systems might not be as strong, he explained.

Glatter affirmed that no vaccination or antiviral drugs are now available to treat this illness. But many things may be done to make someone feel better while the illness is still there.

Supportive therapy, such as acetaminophen for fever and pains, and hydration, according to Glatter, will help patients feel better. Warm compresses could lessen some of the agony brought on by the rash’s unpleasant nature.

Knowledge regarding illness prevention

According to Newman, prompt isolation of affected individuals and good hand cleanliness are effective measures to prevent tomato flu.

She emphasized cleaning surfaces, toys, clothes, and other items used by sick people, or practicing “environmental disinfection.”

And preventing children and adults from sharing these things, she continued.

What worries Glatter is that we don’t know how the sickness will affect older individuals or those who have weaker immune systems.

Despite this, he stated, “Americans should not be excessively alarmed at this time due to the very modest danger of spread in the population.

Glatter issued a warning, saying that given what we have recently seen with COVID-19 and this latest outbreak of monkeypox, “vigilance is important” on a worldwide scale.

The first thing to do right now, according to him, is to establish whether the tomato virus is a virus, let alone a brand-new virus. Or just the result of a recent prior infection with a virus that has previously been well-known and documented.