With the world still fighting against the spread of Covid and monkeypox, another virus has now been detected.
"Tomato flu" – named after the red blisters that appear on the skin of those infected – shows symptoms similar to Covid including fever, fatigue, and body aches (although the two viruses are not related).
Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes and dehydration. In very few cases changes in limb colour have been reported.
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According to a new study from the Lancet Respiratory Medicine Journal, tomato flu was first identified in Kerala, India on May 6 this year.
As of July 26 there had been more than 82 infections of children aged five or under reported to local government hospitals.
26 more kids up to the age of 10 are also suspected to be infected.
Those who contract the virus are placed in isolation for five to seven days.
The Lancet report states: "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.
"The rare viral infection is in an endemic state and is considered non-life-threatening; however, because of the dreadful experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vigilant management is desirable to prevent further outbreaks."
Thus far the infections have been contained in the regions of Kerala, Tamilnadu and Odisha.
It also appears to have only affected children at this stage, but the Kerala Health Department is taking precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the “very contagious” virus.
There are also concerns over the consequences of it possibly spreading to adults.
The report continues: "Children are at increased risk of exposure to tomato flu as viral infections are common in this age group and spread is likely to be through close contact.
"Young children are also prone to this infection through use of nappies, touching unclean surfaces, as well as putting things directly into the mouth.
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"Given the similarities to hand, foot, and mouth disease, if the outbreak of tomato flu in children is not controlled and prevented, transmission might lead to serious consequences by spreading in adults as well."
Dr Subhash Chandra told India Today: “It is not a fatal disease, but it is contagious and can spread from person to person, although the actual ways in which the infection spreads are still being studied.
“Patients who develop tomato fever should drink plenty of fluids and rest in bed, as it is also advised for other viral fevers, to keep the body hydrated and well-rested.”
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