Outbreak of little-known viral disease triggers concern in India

New Delhi, Jan 26 (EFE).- The spread of a viral new disease in children, known as tomato flu for the red and painful blisters it can cause, has triggered concern in India as it was detected in the most populated state on Friday, days after the central government issued an alert.

“The hand foot and mouth disease is not unusual in southern India. And this (tomato flu) is very closely related to that. So currently, the clinician thinking here is that this is a variant of that,” public health expert and former director of the National Health System Resources Center, T Sundararaman, told EFE.

Classified as a “new virus” in a study published last week in medical journal The Lancet, the bug was first detected in the southern state of Kerala on May 6.

As per the authors, the tomato flu mainly affects children younger than five years and at least 82 cases have been detected in Kerala, apart from 26 recorded in the eastern state of Odisha.

The symptoms include “high fever, rashes, and intense pain in joints,” apart from “the eruption of red and painful blisters throughout the body that gradually enlarge to the size of a tomato,” according to the study, although it underlines that the disease is not fatal.

Local news outlets reported that the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Friday issued a circular urging parents to not let their children “hug or touch other children having fever or rash symptoms.”

The Indian government had also issued an alert earlier this week.

Sundararaman said that the disease was self-limiting as it does not spread very fast, although the rising cases have raised doubt on its potential impact.

“I am not sure that our countrywide disease surveillance system is up to the task. But definitely, the systems in the south in places like Kerala are far better,” the expert said.

“But it (tomato flu) is easy to isolate because it is very visible. If the public health action is prompt, we will not have an epidemic,” he concluded.

Authorities have said that currently there is no specific treatment advised for the disease, which is similar to other virus-borne diseases chikungunya or dengue, with the advise limited to common drugs such as paracetamol. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button