Tomato flu: a variant of foot-and-mouth syndrome or monkeypox?

Tomato flu: a variant of foot-and-mouth syndrome or monkeypox?


Since May 6, 2022, the health authorities of Kerala, a region of southern India, have reported 82 cases of a disease known as “tomato flu” or “tomato fever”, local media reports such as India Today. The patients are children, mostly under the age of 5, and in the midst of the resurgence of monkeypox, the phenomenon is worrying.

What are the symptoms of tomato flu?

The disease, caused by a virus, is mainly characterized by rashes on the feet, hands and mouth of the affected children. These pimples can take the form of round, red blisters, hence the name “tomato flu,” which can be accompanied by painful itching.

But other symptoms have also been reported, such as the fact that the legs and hands change color. Experts also noted fatigue, of feverstomach cramps, sneezing, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, cough, runny nose, and joint and muscle pain.

Is there a treatment for tomato flu?

Concerning tomato flu“there is no specific drug to treat it”explains Dr. Aruna to theIndian Express. He adds that the disease is possibly highly contagious: “If a person is infected with this flu, they need to be kept in isolation because they can spread from person to person quickly.”

For the care of the sick, Dr. Subhasj Chandra explains to India Today : “Patients who develop ‘tomato fever’ should drink plenty of fluids and rest in bed, as is recommended for other viral fevers, in order to keep the body hydrated and well rested.” He also states that“It’s probably not a deadly disease, but it’s probably very contagious.”. In addition, Veena George, Minister of Health of Kerala, said in a statement that “The risk of this disease is low, but it can cause meningitis in rare cases. Therefore, if you notice any symptoms, you should consult a doctor. “

Tomato flu, a form of smallpox or foot-and-mouth syndrome?

Tomato flu was detected while doctors feared childhood cases of smallpox of the monkey, because of the similarities between the two diseases. Nevertheless, virologist Jacob John, who practices at Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, was interviewed by the BBCbelieves that it could simply be a variant of the virus responsible for foot-to-mouth syndrome. An opinion shared by infectiologist Benjamin Rossi, who explains about TF1 : “A few months ago, the Indians reportedly said it was a Coxsakie [l’entéorvirus à l’origine de ce syndrome, ndlr], they would not have gone further. But because it looks like monkeypox, they had to take tests, before finding that the children were negative. The same virus may not have been sequenced a few months ago. That’s the context. “

For Dr. Rossi, “There is no need to worry. In virology, phenomena like this are there all the time.” In addition, Prof. Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute of Global Health in Geneva, adds on TF1: “To my knowledge, [ce virus] has not left the Indian subcontinent. “

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