Home / News / India /  Tomato flu: India on high alert, Centre issues advisory to states. Details here

With over 82 children below the age of five sickened by the illness in southern states, especially in Kerala, with another 26 children reported sick in eastern Odisha, the country is now on high alert. Notably, the Health Ministry has issued testing and prevention guidelines to states following a surge of a new influenza virus variant, commonly known as tomato flu, with more than 100 infections reported among children over the last few months, according to Bloomberg report.

Government issues advisory to states on tomato flu:

India's central government earlier this week issued an advisory to states on the Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD), which is now commonly known as Tomato Flu. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed that Tomato Flu was first identified in the Kollam district of Kerala on May 6 and as of July 26, more than 82 children younger than five years with the infection have been reported by the local government hospitals. The other affected areas of Kerala are Anchal, Aryankavu, and Neduvathur. While this endemic viral illness triggered an alert to the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, according to news agency ANI report. 

Additionally, 26 children, aged 1 to 9 years, have been reported as having the disease in Odisha by the Regional Medical Research Centre in Bhubaneswar. To date, apart from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Odisha, no other regions in India have reported the disease in their State/UT by the virus, the report said. While the Health Ministry has recommended isolation for 5-7 days from the start of symptoms, to prevent the spread of infection to other children or adults.

What you need to know about the tomato flu:

It is important to note that the tomato flu gets its name from the often tomato-shaped blisters that appear across the patient’s body and it most commonly affects young children and will typically see flare-ups in nursery schools and daycares, according to Bloomberg report. 

This highly infectious viral illness can cause fever, fatigue and body aches apart from the tomato-shaped blisters. Notably, the disease is a variant of the so-called hand-foot-mouth disease that is common in school-going children, the ministry said, adding that it’s not related to Covid-19, monkeypox, dengue and chikungunya, the report said. 

(With inputs from ANI, Bloomberg)

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