Tomato Flu: Karnataka sounds high alert over tomato fever outbreak in Kerala


BENGALURU: Karnataka on Wednesday sounded high alert along the district border Kerala after it reported the outbreak of a rare viral disease – Tomato Fever or Tomato Flu.
The district health officers (DHO) of the border districts have been directed to step up surveillance measures and maintain constant vigil on out-patient department (OPD) services in both the private and public health institutions.
According to health officials more than 80 kids were reported to have been diagnosed with tomato fever in and around Kollam district of Kerala.
Officials in the Health and Family Welfare Department said that there was a sudden spurt in the tomato fever cases as more than 80 kids were diagnosed in parts of Kerala in less than a few days.
“Over 80 kids below the age group of five were diagnosed with the disease and the numbers are expected to go up. Kerala has also ordered surveillance and screening of passengers along the Tamil Nadu border, ”said a senior health official.
The Kerala government has also formed a 24-member team to oversee screening of all the kids at anganwadi centers.
Following the outbreak of the disease, Karnataka health minister Dr K Sudhakar consulted the health officials and directed them to take up screening of suspected cases in the border districts.
“Our preliminary reports suggest that cases have been reported from Aryankavu, Anchal and Neduvathur in Kerala. As a precaution, we will maintain a strict vigil on daily travelers from Kerala entering Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Kodagu, Chamarajanagar and Mysuru besides monitoring the children for any tomato fever symptoms at OPDs. ” Dr Sudhakar told TOI.
DHOs of districts concerned along with adjoining districts have also been directed to ensure surveillance activity and inform the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) unit of the health department.
“Tomato Fever has nothing to do with the Covid-19 and it is endemic in Kerala. There is no need for the public to panic about it,” Dr Sudhkar explained.
Symptoms of tomato fever
Tomato flu or Tomato fever is a rare viral disease, causing red-colored rashes, skin irritation and dehydration among kids under five-years of age. The infection gets its name due to the blisters appearing like tomatoes on the body of the infected kids. Infected children get red blisters of the size of tomatoes on the body along with high fever, severe body ache, joint swelling and fatigue. As the symptoms are similar to Chikungunya, it is also attributed as the after-effect of Chikungunya. Doctors have advised parents to keep kids hydrated along with proper hygiene during the summer and rainy days.