PANIC-Is Tomato Flu in Kenya? Health Ministry Speaks

The Ministry of Health has mollified fears of a tomato influenza/tomato fever in Kenya.

Said to be a viral disease, “tomato flu” was first revealed in the Kollam locale of Kerala, India on May 6, 2022. From that point forward, there have been around 100 instances of the Tomato Flu in India, every one of them among kids younger than nine.

The Lancet Respiratory Medicine diary reports that Tomato influenza or flu acquired its name based on the emission of red and painful blisters all through the body that bit by bit expand to the size of a tomato. These said blisters look like those seen with the monkeypox infection in young people.

“Rashes also appear on the skin with tomato flu that lead to skin irritation. As with other viral infections, further symptoms include, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, dehydration, swelling of joints, body aches, and common influenza-like symptoms, which are similar to those manifested in dengue,” Lancet says.

“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.”

The infection was additionally reported in the United Kingdom from tests of two children who had gone to India for holiday. The tests showed they were contaminated with an enterovirus named coxsackie A16 that causes hand, foot and mouth disease.

Closer home, Acting Director General for Health Dr. Patrick Amoth says the nation has not reported any instance of tomato flu.

He said there is no reason to worry but because of travel, they can’t preclude anything.

“Should we record any, we will advise accordingly. It may be far, but we can still record it. In case of any symptoms, we encourage people to report,” Dr Amoth said.

The Lancet journal takes note of that Tomato virus is considered non-threatening however extremely infectious. It is generally spread through close contact.

“Young children are also prone to this infection through the use of nappies, touching unclean surfaces, as well as putting things directly into the mouth. Given the similarities to hand, foot, and mouth disease,” says the journal.

“If the outbreak of tomato flu in children is not controlled and prevented, transmission might lead to serious consequences by spreading in adults as well.”

There are no antiviral medications or immunizations for the treatment or prevention of tomato flu.