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Toxic Shock Syndrome

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Toxic Shock Syndrome Definition


Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) refers to a combination of symptoms that results from toxins produced by an infection with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The disease can progress rapidly, causing failure of multiple body systems. Toxic shock syndrome can be fatal. There are two types of the disease:

The menstrual type—associated with menstruation and tampon use. The number of tampon-associated cases has decreased since the 1980s. Women have become more aware of the danger and modified their use of tampons. In addition, a highly absorbent type of tampon was removed from the market. Doctors are not sure what role tampons play in the disease. Absorbent tampons may cause dryness and breaks in the lining of the vagina.

The nonmenstrual type—associated with a wound. It can occur in men, women, and children.

A different bacterium, Streptococcus pyogenes , can cause a similar condition, called streptococcal toxic shock-like syndrome.

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