‘Tomato flu’ outbreak in Kerala — All you need to know about the new infection

‘Tomato flu’ outbreak in Kerala — All you need to know about the new infection
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  • Around 80 children under the age of five have been infected so far with Tomato flu, as per media reports.
  • All the tomato flu cases are from the Kollam district. However, Neduvathur, Anchal, and Aryankavu in Kerala are also affected.
  • The flu causes rashes or blisters, skin irritation and dehydration.
Even as we await the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, another infection named Tomato flu has made its way to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Kerala has reported over 58 deaths and hospitalisations due to food poisoning this month — which is now retrospectively identified as the new flu.

Around 80 children have so far been infected with the Tomato flu and they are under the age of five years, as per media reports. But it is yet to be ascertained if it affects only children.

Tomato flu in Kerala

As of now, all the Tomato flu cases detected are from the Kollam district. However, Neduvathur, Anchal and Aryankavu in Kerala are affected as well.

In order to curb the spread, a team of revenue, health and police officials have been deployed at the Walayar checkpost located on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border to screen people coming from the neighbouring state.

“Three teams comprising revenue inspectors, health inspectors and police have been deployed on a shift basis. They will note down if someone has fever and rashes. This flu is a self-limiting one and there is no specific drug for this. If someone is infected with this flu, they need to be kept in isolation as this could spread rapidly from one person to another,” Dr P Aruna, the deputy director of health services, Coimbatore, told the Indian Express.

What is Tomato flu?


Tomato flu is termed as a misdiagnosed infection in India. The flu got its name from the tomato-shaped blisters it causes on the body.

The flu causes rashes or blisters, skin irritation and dehydration. However, its cause is still unknown — whether it is related to chikungunya, a viral fever or a dengue fever.

Symptoms detected in infected children

The symptoms of Tomato flu are —

  • Skin irritation
  • Body rashes
  • Red spots on hands and legs
  • Body ache
  • Tiredness and nausea
  • Joint swelling
  • Discolouration of hands, knees and buttocks
  • Dehydration

What should one do if they develop these symptoms?

If you develop some of these symptoms, the first and foremost thing to do is consult a doctor immediately. The infected person must avoid scratching rashes or blisters. Proper hygiene should be maintained and the patient should rest as much as possible.

How can you prevent yourself from getting infected?

One should not panic because the situation is not alarming, as yet. However, one must proceed with caution.

  1. Stay hydrated and drink only boiled water.
  2. Maintain a proper distance from the infected person.
  3. Maintain good hygiene to prevent an infection.
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