India has reported more than 80 cases of Tomato flu this year so far. While most of these have been reported in Kerala, the outbreak has pushed healthcare experts to keep track of the disease. Apart from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Odisha have reported cases of tomato flu.

The disease has been nicknamed “tomato flu” because of the red and painful blisters that form on an infected individual’s body. The disease has nothing to do with tomatoes, experts have confirmed.

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Vasso Apostolopoulos, an immunotherapy expert from Victoria University, told ABC news that the disease “shares symptoms with hand, foot and mouth disease“. However, medical experts are still attempting to decode the virus that causes tomato flu.

Professor Apostolopoulos shared the story of two children who were returning to the United Kingdom from India earlier this year. The two children tested positive for enterovirus, which is responsible for infecting an individual with hand, foot and mouth disease.

“(The virus) shares some sequences with a strain of virus called coxsackie A16 but it is not entirely the same, although it appears it is probably from the clade of this virus”, Professor Apostolopoulos told ABC News.

News agency PTI reported that the tomato flu is still considered to be at the “endemic stage”. No anti-viral medications or vaccines are available for the treatment or prevention of tomato flu.

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Though considered non-life-threatening, vigilant management is desirable to prevent further outbreaks, especially because of the dreadful experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, according a study.

Although the virus shows symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 — including fever, fatigue, body aches and rashes on the skin — a report in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal suggests that it could be an after-effect of chikungunya or dengue fever in children rather than a viral infection.