After more than 100 instances of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD), also known as Tomato Flu, were detected in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, and Haryana, the central government issued an alert to states. Tomato Flu was initially found in the Kollam region of Kerala on May 6, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and as of July 26, more than 82 children under the age of five have been declared infected by local government hospitals. The other affected areas of Kerala are Anchal, Aryankavu, and Neduvathur.
This pendemic viral infection prompted an alert in neighboring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Furthermore, the Regional Medical Research Centre in Bhubaneswar has stated that 26 children (aged 1 to 9 years) in Odisha have the condition. Aside from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, and Odisha, no other regions in India have reported the virus-caused sickness in their State/UT.
Tomato Flu: What is it and how does it spread?
Tomato flu is a viral infection. The term "Tomato Flu" refers to the disease's principal symptom, tomato-shaped blisters on various body areas. The blisters start as red-coloured tiny blisters and resemble tomatoes when they expand.
Tomato Flu symptoms in children are similar to those seen in other viral infections, including fever, rashes, and joint pain. Skin rashes can also cause skin irritation. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, dehydration, joint swelling, body aches, and common influenza-like symptoms, according to the Union Health Ministry.
Fever, oral sores, and a skin rash are all symptoms of HFMD. It begins with slight fever, poor appetite, malaise, and commonly a sore throat. Small red spots emerge one or two days after the fever begins, progressing to blisters and ultimately ulcers. Sores are most commonly found on the tongue, gums, inside of the cheeks, palms, and soles.
Molecular and serological testing are performed in children with these symptoms to rule out dengue, chikungunya, zika virus, varicella-zoster virus, and herpes; after these viral illnesses are ruled out, a diagnosis of tomato flu is considered.
Tomato Flu is a self-limiting infectious condition, with signs and symptoms that disappear within a few days. It seems the disease is a clinical variant of the so-called hand-foot-mouth disease that is common in school-going children.
Infants and young children are also susceptible to this infection due to the usage of diapers, touching filthy surfaces, and putting objects straight into their mouths. HFMD primarily affects children under the age of ten, however it can also affect adults. There are no drugs available to treat the illness. Isolation, rest, plenty of drinks, and a hot water sponge for discomfort and rashes are all common treatments for viral illnesses. Paracetamol for fever and body soreness, as well as other symptomatic therapies, are required.
What safeguards are required?
Isolation should be practiced for 5-7 days after the onset of any symptom to prevent illness from spreading to other children or adults.
The best solution for prevention is maintenance of proper hygiene and sanitization of the surrounding necessities and environment as well as preventing the infected child from sharing toys, clothes, food, or other items with other non-infected children.
As yet, no antiviral drugs or vaccines are available for the treatment or prevention of tomato flu. Further follow-up and monitoring for serious outcomes and sequelae are needed to better understand the need for potential treatments.
Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is one of the many infections that result in mouth sores. However, health care providers can usually tell the difference between HFMD and other causes of mouth sores by considering the patient`s age, the symptoms reported by the patient or parent, and the appearance of the rash and/or sores. Diagnosis is largely clinical.
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 2-4 weeks to obtain the laboratory results. The testing should be done for the investigation of an outbreak so that preventive measures can be initiated.
On Sample collection, the Health Ministry said throat or nasopharyngeal samples can be collected within 48 hours of illness. Faecal samples should be collected within 48 hours of illness.