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Tomato Flu Among Children


In the most recent issue of the Lancet Respiratory Journal, doctors issued a warning about the emergence of a new non-life-threatening virus known as tomato flu among children under the age of five.


GS Paper 2: Health

Mains Question

What exactly is Tomato Flu? What are your concerns about this? How the virus has affected India over time? (150 Words)

Tomato Flu

  • Tomato flu, also known as Tomato Fever, is a new type of hand, foot, and mouth disease that primarily affects children under the age of five.
  • HFMD (Hand-foot-and-mouth disease) is a common febrile (feverish) rash illness.
  • It is caused by the following enteroviruses: Coxsackie A16 (CA16), EV A71, Coxsackie A6, Coxsackie B, and Echo viruses.
  • Coxsackie virus A 16 of the Enterovirus family causes this flu.
  • This disease causes red and painful blisters all over the body that enlarge to a large size over time. These blisters resemble those seen in cases of monkeypox.


  • According to the Lancet study, the primary symptoms of Tomato Flu are similar to those of Chikungunya, which include high fever, rashes, and intense joint pain.
  • Fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, joint swelling, body aches, and common influenza-like symptoms are also common in dengue.

Who is in danger?

  • Because of the use of nappies, touching unclean surfaces, and putting things directly into the mouth, young children are especially vulnerable to this infection.
  • Close contact is commonly used to spread the viral infection.


  • Because tomato flu is similar to chikungunya, dengue, and hand, foot, and mouth disease, the treatment is also similar — isolation, rest, plenty of fluids, and a hot water sponge to relieve irritation and rashes.
  • Paracetamol for fever and body ache, as well as other symptomatic treatments, are required.
  • Medical teams are providing follow-up care and monitoring to patients experiencing severe symptoms in order to avoid a fatality.

India’s most affected regions

  • Tomato Flu was first discovered in Kerala’s Kollam district in May 2022.
  • More than 82 children under the age of five have been infected so far.
  • It was declared an endemic viral illness in Kerala, and the local health authorities issued an alert to neighbouring states Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. • In addition, 26 children (aged 1-9 years) were infected in Odisha.
  • No other states have reported Tomato Flu infections besides Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, and Haryana. Haryana is the most recently added state to this list.

December 2023