Toxic Shock Syndrome

December 22 21:56 2019 Print This Article

Toxic shock syndrome is a severe disease that involves fever, shock, and problems with the function of several body organs. TSS is a systemic illness, which means that it affects the whole body. It can be caused by one of two different types of bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. GAS is an aerobic gram-positive organism that forms chains and is an important cause of soft tissue infections. TSS is a rare but potentially serious illness that can develop quickly in anyone – men, women and children.

In 1980, an outbreak of toxic shock syndrome occurred that mostly involved young women who had been using a particular brand of superabsorbent tampons. Toxic shock syndrome did not become familiar until an epidemic in 1981, linked to women using tampons. Toxic shock syndrome featured in general public news in the early 1980s when an epidemic occurred. TSS has been linked to many bacterial infections, including pneumonia, osteomyelitis, sinusitis, and skin and gynecologic infections.

TSS is a rare bacteria-caused illness occurring mostly in menstruating women who use high absorbency tampons. These bacteria can produce toxins – proteins that act as poisons. In some people whose bodies can’t fight these toxins, the immune system reacts. TSS is a toxin-mediated disease. Endotoxin toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) is the major toxin produced by strains of S aureus that are responsible for causing TSS.

Different bacterial toxins may cause toxic shock syndrome, depending on the situation. Since then manufacturers have made changes to tampon production and the number of cases of tampon-induced toxic shock syndrome has dropped significantly. An increasing number of severe GAS infections associated with shock and organ failure have been reported. Signs and symptoms of toxic shock syndrome develop suddenly, and the disease can be fatal.

Causes of Toxic Shock Syndrome

The comman causes of Toxic Shock Syndrome include the following:

  • TSS is caused by coagulase-positive staphylococci ( S aureus ) and group A beta-hemolytic streptococci (S pyogenes).
  • TSS develops when Streptococci spread from damaged tissue into the bloodstream.
  • History of using the diaphragm or contraceptive sponge.
  • Use of superabsorbent tampons.
  • Postoperative wound infection.
  • A local infection in the skin or deep tissue.
  • Some cases of toxic shock syndrome are caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, the same bacterium that causes strep throat.

Symptoms of Toxic Shock Syndrome

Some sign and symptoms related to Toxic Shock Syndrome include the following:

  • Rash (red and flat that covers most of the areas of the body).
  • Shedding of the skin in large sheets especially over the palms and soles (This is seen one to two weeks after the onset of symptoms.)
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Profuse watery diarrhea with abdominal pain.
  • Bruising due to low blood platelet count.
  • Disorientation and confusion.
  • Drowsiness or confusion.