A few months ago, we told you about an emerging health threat that was receiving a lot of attention: monkey pox.Today we're here to explain a little more about another health issue that is gaining some traction in the headlines at the moment: Tomato Flu. Called Tomato Flu because of the painful, red blisters it causes that can be as big as a tomato, the likely viral disease has so far impacted more than 100 children in India's Kerala region. According to The Lancet medical journal, Tomato Flu was first identified in the Kollam district of Kerala, India on May 6, 2022. The journal further notes that the disease is considered non-life-threatening and resolves on its own in time. Furthermore, The Lancet says that Tomato Flu's primary symptoms observed in infected children resemble those of chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus which can cause high fever, rashes, and intense pain in joints. “Transmission is likely to be through close contact,” said Hannah Newman, MPH, director of infection prevention at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “The virus has been named tomato flu on the basis of the red, painful blisters it causes that can mimic the look and size of a tomato,” Newman added. Seeing as Tomato Flu is contagious, there is a significant chance it could spread outside of India. *Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay
One of the latest developments, in what has been a tumultuous couple of years, is the recent monkeypox outbreaks that we're hearing about in the news. But what is monkeypox and should you be concerned? Monkeypox is a rare disease which is similar to smallpox but significantly less severe. Native to Africa, monkeypox is usually spread through animal-to-human contact. Once infected, the individual will likely notice skin lesions, fever, swollen lymph nodes and head and body aches. While most people will get better within two-four weeks, monkeypox can be fatal for some. Indeed, the World Health Organization (WHO) says monkeypox has a case fatality ratio of around 3-6%. As of May 21, 2022, the WHO says there are 92 laboratory-confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox from 12 Member States not endemic to the monkeypox virus, with no deaths thus far. According to Dr. Alex Li, deputy chief medical officer, L.A. Care Health Plan, there is no need for panic. “The CDC is monitoring this situation very closely,” he said. Li added that anyone who has symptoms similar to chickenpox, has had contact with symptomatic people, or has recently traveled to Africa, should contact a healthcare professional. *image: Congo rope squirrel (Funisciurus congicus), Damaraland, Namibia. Congo rope squirrels are one of several animals susceptible to the monkeypox virus. Credit: licensed under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.