Just as we are dealing with the probable emergence of fourth wave of COVID-19, a new virus known as tomato flu, or tomato fever, has emerged in India in the state of Kerala in children younger than 5 years.
The rare viral infection is in an endemic state and is considered non-life-threatening; however, because of the dreadful experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vigilant management is desirable to prevent further outbreaks.
Although the tomato flu virus shows symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 (both are associated with fever, fatigue, and bodyaches initially, and some patients with COVID-19 also report rashes on the skin), the virus is not related to SARS-CoV-2. Tomato flu could be an after-effect of chikungunya or dengue fever in children rather than a viral infection.
The virus could also be a new variant of the viral hand, foot, and mouth disease, a common infectious disease targeting mostly children aged 1–5 years and immunocompromised adults, and some case studies have even shown hand, foot, and mouth disease in immunocompetent adults.
Tomato flu is a self-limiting illness and no specific drug exists to treat it.
The tomato flu was first identified in the Kollam district of Kerala on May 6, 2022, and as of July 26, 2022, more than 82 children younger than 5 years with the infection have been reported by the local government hospitals.
Read more in The Lancet