Health experts warn of new “tomato flu” that is “very contagious”

Image - tomato flu: Irina Starikova3432/shutterstock

Image - tomato flu: Irina Starikova3432/shutterstock

Already over 80 children under the age of five have been infected by “tomato flu” virus that medical experts warn is “very contagious”. 

The probable outbreak is spreading throughout India, having been first detected in Kerala in early May of this year, as reported by The virus, which is a new type of hand, foot and mouth disease, has also been found in Kerala and Odisha. 

In a study carried out the medical journal Lancet, a further 26 children between the ages of one and nine in Odisha have been recorded as having the disease, also known as tomato fever. It is thought that so far, apart from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Odisha, no other regions in India have been affected by the virus. 

The new ‘tomato flu’ takes its name from its symptoms, red, painful and swollen blisters which form on the skin and  give the appearance in size and colour of tomatoes. Not unlike other viruses which have been spreading recently such as covid and monkeypox, tomato flu can also cause the infected person to experience a fever, bodily aches and joint pain. 

Some sufferers of the virus have also reported nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and dehydration.

As of yet, no drugs have been developed to treat the disease. Medical experts are currently investigating whether the disease is the result of a mosquito-borne infection but have not completely dismissed that it could be an entirely new pathogen. 

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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at


    • Ruth

      20 August 2022 • 14:33

      This virus is a “hand, foot and mouth” one, not a flu virus. It has only occured in a few regions of India, in children, who were recovering from chikungunya or dengue fever, so their immune systems were very weak. “Dr Jacob John, a prominent virologist, told the BBC that the fever shouldn’t be called “Tomato flu” as it is a classic case of an HFMD outbreak”.

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