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Reports of “tomato flu” outbreak in India are not due to new virus, say doctors

BMJ 2022; 378 doi: (Published 26 August 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;378:o2101
  1. Kamala Thiagarajan
  1. Madurai, India

A “new” virus known as tomato flu reported in India is a variant of the already endemic hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD), doctors have confirmed.

A letter published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine on 17 August reported the emergence of the “new” virus in the Indian state of Kerala in children younger than 5. It said that as of 26 July more than 82 children aged under 5 had been reported to have the infection by local government hospitals.1

One of the predominant symptoms of the disease is the presence of tomato-like red welts all over the body, particularly the hands, feet, and oral cavity. These are accompanied by symptoms very similar to those of covid-19, such as fever, fatigue, and body aches.

The report said that tomato flu could be a variant of viral HFMD or an infection that developed in the aftermath …

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