Toxic shock syndrome is a serious disease that involves fever, shock, and problems with several body organs.
Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome; Toxic shock-like syndrome; TSLS
Toxic shock syndrome is caused by a toxin produced by some types of staphylococcus bacteria. A similar problem, called toxic shock-like syndrome (TSLS), can be caused by toxin from streptococcal bacteria. Not all staph or strep infections cause toxic shock syndrome.
The earliest cases of toxic shock syndrome involved women who used tampons during their menstrual periods. However, today less than one half of cases are linked to tampon use. Toxic shock syndrome can also occur with skin infections, burns, and after surgery. The condition can also affect children, postmenopausal women, and men.
Risk factors include:
No single test can diagnose toxic shock syndrome.
The health care provider will look for the following factors:
In some cases, blood cultures may be positive for growth of S aureus or Streptoccus pyogenes.
The goal of treatment is to maintain important body functions. This may include:
Toxic shock syndrome may be deadly in up to 50% of cases. The condition may return in those who survive.
Complications may include:
Toxic shock syndrome is a medical emergency. Seek medical help right away if you develop a rash, fever, and feel ill, particularly during menstruation and tampon use or if you have had recent surgery.
You can lower your risk for menstrual toxic shock syndrome by:
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Reviewed By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.