What is Tomato flu that is spreading in India? Symptoms and treatment

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What is Tomato flu that is spreading in India? Symptoms and treatment

Find out the symptoms and treatment options for the tomato flu which medical experts have termed “very contagious”.

Medical experts in India are battling the spread of yet another virus in the country. According to a Lancet study revealed on Saturday, India has recorded as many as 82 cases of tomato flu or tomato fever since the virus was first reported in Kerala on May 6.

According to the study, the common infectious disease targeting mostly children aged one to five years and immunocompromised adults could also be a new variant of hand, foot, and mouth disease. Some case studies have even shown hand, foot, and mouth disease in immunocompetent adults, said the study.


The tomato flu was first identified in Kerala’s Kollam district on May 6, 2022. The study said the tomato flu virus shows symptoms similar to those of Covid-19 but the virus is not related to SARS-CoV-2. Rather than a viral infection, tomato flu could be an after-effect of chikungunya or dengue fever in children.

The flu was named on the basis of the eruption of red and painful blisters throughout the body that gradually enlarge to the size of a tomato.


The primary symptoms observed in children with tomato flu are similar to those of chikungunya, which include high fever, rashes, and intense pain in joints. Some of its symptoms like body aches, fever and fatigue are similar to those experienced by Covid-19 patients. Other symptoms include joint swelling, nausea, diarrhoea, dehydration, joint aches and high fever. In some cases, patients also reported the development of rashes on their skin.

The study added that further symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, dehydration, swelling of joints, body aches, and common influenza-like symptoms, which are similar to those manifested in dengue.


Patients showing the symptoms listed should go through molecular and serological tests for the diagnosis of dengue, chikungunya, zika virus, varicella-zoster virus, and herpes. Once these viral infections are ruled out, contraction of the tomato virus is confirmed.


The treatment for tomato flu is similar to the treatment of chikungunya, dengue and hand, foot, and mouth disease. Patients are advised to isolate, rest, plenty of fluids, and hot water sponge for the relief of irritation and rashes.

“Supportive therapy of paracetamol for fever and bodyache and other symptomatic treatments are required”, said the study.

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