Children in India have an outbreak of tomato flu

(ORDO NEWS) — Over 100 cases of contagious childhood infection have been described in India. The most noticeable symptom was large boils the size of a tomato – hence the name “tomato flu”.

The causative agent may be some already known pathogen (chikungunya virus or dengue), although a new infection may also be a type of hand-foot-mouth syndrome.

In India, an outbreak of a childhood infection of undetermined nature has begun, which is easily transmitted by close contact (similar to ” monkeypox “), but does not cause severe symptoms and, as a rule, resolves without serious consequences and treatment.

The most noticeable sign of the disease was large painful blisters all over the body. These sores gradually grow to the size of a tomato, hence the name “tomato flu”.

It is reported about 82 sick children in the Indian state of Kerala, their age does not exceed five years. Cases have also been reported in three neighboring states, including 26 infections in children aged one to nine in the state of Odisha.

The causes of the outbreak of an infectious disease are reviewed in the leading medical journal The Lancet . Researchers from India and Australia described the symptoms of the disease in the article : a high fever, the abscesses mentioned, and severe joint pain, all of which are reminiscent of infection with the Chikungunya virus. However, with “tomato flu”, weakness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are also noted, which brings it closer to real flu .

The new infections also have common features with Covid-19, but the causative agent clearly cannot be a new coronavirus, like the Zika virus , chickenpox and herpes – this has been ruled out by laboratory diagnostics.

The authors concluded that “tomato flu” should probably be considered complications of other past infections – caused by the Chikungunya virus or dengue (transmitted by mosquito bites).

However, this disease may actually be a new type of enteroviral vesicular stomatitis, a common disease caused by enteroviruses.

“Given the similarity to the “hand-foot-mouth” syndrome, It can be assumed that if this outbreak of “tomato flu” in children cannot be controlled and contained, then it can cause serious consequences and start be distributed among adults,” the authors of the publication emphasized.

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