Health experts have warned India against another probable outbreak, 'Tomato Flu', after the virus was first detected in Kerala on May 6. 'Tomato flu', as it is commonly called, is a new type of hand, foot and mouth disease and cases have been found in Kerala and Odisha.
According to a study in the Lancet, the virus has so far infected 82 children, who are all under the age of five.
"Just as we are dealing with the probable emergence of fourth wave of Covid-19, a new virus known as tomato flu, or tomato fever, has emerged in India in the state of Kerala in children younger than 5 years," Lancet said in its report.
The study further claimed that 26 more children (aged 1-9 years) have been reported as having the disease in Odisha by the Regional Medical Research Centre in Bhubaneswar. To date, apart from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Odisha, no other regions in India have been affected by the virus.
The disease is caused by intestinal viruses and is rare in adults as they usually have immune systems strong enough to defend them from the virus.
It is called 'tomato flu' following the red, painful swollen blisters on the skin that transform into tomato-like sizes. The disease comes armed with fever, body ache and joint pain. Some patients have also reported nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, dehydration, swollen joints and body aches.
Scientists have warned that the disease is very contagious. No drugs exist yet to fight the disease.