After many children in Kerala complained of a new kind of disease that is being referred to as the “tomato flu”, Health Minister K Sudhakar of neighbouring Karnataka has instructed state agency to monitor daily travellers entering inter-state border districts like Mangaluru, Udupi, Kodagu, Chamrajnagara and Mysuru.
Tomato flu is a rare viral disease that causes red-coloured rashes, skin irritation and dehydration. The disease gets its name from the blisters it causes, which look like tomatoes.
Tomato flu is affecting children below the age of five in Kerala. “The main symptoms include large blisters the size of tomatoes which are red in colour. Other symptoms of the flu include high fever, body ache, joint swelling and fatigue – much like chikungunya,” a health department release said.
Further directions have been given to inform the State Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) section immediately if any cases with such symptoms are detected. District health officers (DHO) of concerned districts and other districts too are directed by the commissioner of health to ensure surveillance,” health commissioner D Randeep said.
The Karnataka health minister maintained, of course, that there was no need to panic. “Cases have been reported from Aryankavu, Anchal and Neduvathur in Kerala. So, border districts of the state, namely Mangaluru, Udupi, Kodagu, Chamrajnagara and Mysuru are directed to keep a vigil on daily travellers from Kerala and also to monitor children for any signs and symptoms in the OPDs of health institutions,” Sudhakar said.
“Although some symptoms are similar, tomato flu has nothing to do with Covid-19. These symptoms are usually seen in other types of viral infections also. There is no need to panic as the authorities have been asked to remain alert. Moreover, tomato flu is endemic to Kerala,” the Karnataka health minister said.