The Tomato Flu Outbreak In India: All You Need To Know

By Saksham Bhatia +2 more

On May 6, 2022, the Kollam district of Kerala recorded the first case of tomato flu. Based on a study published in the Lancet, although the tomato flu virus exhibits symptoms that are comparable to those of Covid-19, it is unrelated to SARS-CoV-2. Tomato flu is also thought to be caused by a virus that may be a variant of the virus responsible for Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (usually affects children below 5 and immunocompromised individuals).

The illness was given its name due to the widespread appearance of painful, red blisters all over the body that eventually resembled tomatoes in shape. According to reports, infectious disease is uncommon and self-limiting. Although it does not now threaten human life, careful management is necessary to prevent it from spreading.

Whom does the tomato flu affect most?

Well over 80 cases of tomato flu have reportedly been detected nationwide thus far, according to reports. Because the infectious sickness has primarily affected children between the ages of 1 and 9, it has raised concerns for the authorities.

Children are the ones who are the most susceptible to this disease and they are also the main carriers of it while spreading it to others. Since viral infections are widespread in children this age and propagation is most probable through close contact, children are more likely to be exposed to tomato flu. Young children can catch this virus by touching dirty surfaces, using diapers and putting objects directly in their mouths. 

Given the similarity to hand, foot and mouth illness, the transmission of tomato flu could have major repercussions by spreading to adults if the outbreak in children is not contained and stopped.

What are the symptoms of tomato flu?

The main signs and symptoms of tomato flu in children are

  • Increased body temperature
  • Fever
  • Rashes
  • Severe joint pain, which is also characteristic of chikungunya. 
  • The red, painful blisters may spread to different parts of the body. 
  • These blisters mimic those that young people who have the monkeypox virus experience. Along with tomato flu, skin rashes that irritate the skin also develop. 
  • Additional signs and symptoms of dengue are similar to those of other viral illnesses, such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, dehydration, swelling of the joints and body aches. 

Precautions to be maintained the preventing contamination

  • Like other influenza strains, tomato flu is extremely contagious. 
  • Therefore, it is essential to carefully isolate suspected or confirmed cases and take additional preventative measures to stop the spread of infection to others. To stop the virus from spreading to other children or adults, isolation should be practised for 5-7 days after the onset of symptoms.

The greatest method of prevention is maintaining good hygiene, continuously sanitising the immediate area and keeping the contaminated child from sharing articles such as toys, clothes, food or any different objects with other children who are not ill.

Treatment for tomato flu 

Tomato flu is said to be a self-limiting condition. Follow the treatment advised by the doctor – no specific medicine has been identified for its cure so far, but symptomatic management under expert advice can help. Do not try to self-diagnose and self-medicate. 

The following tips can help-


  • Rest
  • Hydration – plenty of fluids.
  • Good nutrition (small frequent meals, khichdi, upama,daliya, soups, ( less oily, less spicy fresh homemade food) and fresh fruits can be given in frequent small portions.
  • Sponge to a lower temperature.
  • Maintain good hygiene and ventilation.


Although it may seem a little overwhelming to see reports of another new virus making the rounds, it is important to remember that this particular one isn’t fatal and is not spreading on a large scale. With proper vigilance and by taking necessary precautions, it is very much possible to keep it under control.

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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