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Centre issues advisory to states over Tomato Flu cases; warns of ‘no specific medication’ | India News

Amid a sudden increase in cases of a new fever called ‘Tomato flu’, the Centre on Tuesday asked the states to follow preventive measures, stressing that there is no specific medication to treat the viral disease.


Centre on Tuesday sent an advisory to states on Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) which is commonly known as Tomato Flu. According to the centre, it is a self-limiting illness targetting mostly young children mostly under 10 years of age. However, it can occur in immune-compromised adults too. 


“Although the Tomato Flu virus shows symptoms similar to other viral infections (fever, fatigue, body aches, and rashes on the skin), the virus is not related to SARS-CoV-2, monkeypox, dengue, or chikungunya,” the Centre in its advisory further said. 


Advisory said that the best solution is to maintain proper hygiene and sanitization of the surrounding. It further stated that isolation should be followed for five-seven days from the onset of any symptom to prevent the spread of infection to other children or adults. 


First case reported in Kerala


According to the Centre’s advisory, the first case of Tomato flu was first identified in Kollam of Kerala on 6th May of this year and as of July, over 82 children younger than five years have been reported to have contracted the infection by the local government hospitals. 


The flu triggered an alert in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. Additionally, 26 children aged from one to nine years have been reported as having the disease in Odisha by the Regional Medical Research Centre in Bhubaneswar.


What is Tomato Flu


Tomato Flu is characterized by rashes that are practically tomato shapes blisters on several body parts. People suffer from skin irritation and a sense of dehydration. Several other symptoms including fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, dehydration, swelling of joints, body aches etc, can be noticed. 


It begins with mild fever, poor appetite, malaise, and often a sore throat. One or two days after the fever begins, small red spots appear which changes to blister and then to ulcers. The sores are usually located on tongue, gums, inside of the cheeks, palms and soles.


Avoid immediate contact with the infected person: Advisory


The advisory further listed preventative measures and suggested avoiding immediate contact with the infected person. The advisory said, “Tell your child not to hug or touch children having fever or rash symptoms. You should encourage your children to stop thumb or finger-sucking habits. Encourage the child to use a handkerchief in case of running nose or coughing.”


It is pertinent to mention that no antiviral drugs or vaccines are available for the treatment or prevention of tomato flu till now. Samples from the throat or stool may be sent to a laboratory to test for isolating the virus involved in causing the illness, which may take two to four weeks to obtain the laboratory results. The testing should be done for the investigation of an outbreak so that preventive measures can be initiated, the advisory said.

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