Lancet Study: Tomato Flu Spreading In India; Know Symptoms & Treatment

New Delhi: Not many may have heard of the tomato flu, but it’s a virus that has quietly entered India and is fast becoming a concern and challenge for medical experts in the country.

Since the virus – also called tomato fever — was first reported in Kerala’s Kollam district on May 6, India has recorded 82 cases of tomato flu or tomato fever, according to Lancet.

According to the study, it’s an infectious disease which mostly targets children aged one to five years.

In some cases, it has even manifested in a new variant of hand, foot and mouth disease among immunocompetent adults, said the study.

Also Read: Odisha Sees Sudden Spurt In Tomato Flu!

Though tomato flu’s symptoms are similar to those of COVID-19, it’s not related to SARS-CoV-2. It could be an after-effect of chikungunya or dengue fever in children, the study observed.


Primary symptoms of tomato flu among children are similar to those of chikungunya — fever, rashes and pain in joints. COVID-like symptoms like body aches, fever and fatigue are also experienced. Other symptoms include joint swelling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, and high temperature, which are similar to those in dengue.

Why Tomato Flu?

The infection got its name based on eruption of red and painful blisters throughout the body that gradually enlarge to the size of a tomato.


Anyone showing these symptoms are advised to undergo molecular and serological tests for dengue, chikungunya, zika virus, varicella-zoster virus, and herpes. If these infections are ruled out, tomato flu virus can be confirmed.


Treatment for tomato flu is similar to that of chikungunya, dengue, and hand, foot and mouth disease. Patients have to isolate, rest, consume plenty of fluids, and have hot water sponge for relief from irritation and rashes.

The study also suggested ‘supportive therapy’ of paracetamol for fever and bodyache, and other symptomatic treatments.

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