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Tomato Fever Replaces Chikungunya in Kerala

A large number of people in Kerala are thronging hospitals with symptoms of a rare fever, locally called tomato fever.

Doctors say the fever is an after-effect of Chikungunya.

Tomato fever is spreading rapidly in the areas of Mudakayam, Varzur and Kanirapally in Kottayam and Pathinamtita districts, which were earlier affected by Chikungunya.

Chikungunya is a virus which spreads through mosquito-bite and causes a non-fatal self-limiting illness, marked by high fever, headache, severe joint pain, rashes and nausea.

Symptoms of tomato fever have been seen in around 2,800 people so far. The symptoms include tomato like wounds especially on hands and legs, from which fluid oozes out.

N. Thanganath, Medical Superintendent, Kottayam, said: "In one or more cases, it's not just fever. Patients have irritation on the skin and also rashes and show signs of dehydration on the tongue. At least one or two percent of the patients show these signs. It does not go away even after one week of treatment. Just a handful of them had rashes on the face. We don't know the specific reason. Sometimes it goes away on its own".

A five-member team of the Central Expert Committee arrived in Kottayam on Sunday to take stock of the situation.

Hundreds and thousands of cases of people suffering from Chikungunya in various parts of the coastal state were reported last month.

Medicinal tablets like Paracetamol and vitamin B-complex have been prescribed and patients have been advised to consume lot of fluids.

Like dengue, another mosquito borne disease, there is no vaccine for Chikungunya, and at best, symptoms can be countered through painkillers, intake of plenty of fluids and lots of rest.


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