Toxic Shock Syndrome
In the late 1970's, you may have heard about the illness, toxic shock syndrome (TSS). TSS was on the highlight reels of the news room as a newly discovered disease. Due to the severity of the illness, we must be aware of this illness. Would you recognize the symptoms? TSS is an extremely rare but potentially serious illness that can affect anyone.
TSS is a potentially life-threatening disorder resulting from production of a toxin (a poisonous protein). The toxin responsible for causing TSS is caused by a bacterium called staphylococcus aureus (Bellenir, K. & Desser, P., 1996). In the late 1980's, an invasive group of streptococcal infections occurred in North America and Europe. The age group affected by this syndrome range in ages 20 to 50 years of age. The illness is associated with bacteremia, deep soft tissue infection, shock, multi-organ failure, and death.
Although streptococcal TSS occurs sporadically, minor epidemics have been reported.
Most patients have either a viral like prodrome, a history of minor trauma, recent surgery, or varicella infection. The prodrome may be due to a viral illness predisposing to TSS. These early symptoms may be related to the evolving infection.
In 50% of cases associated with necrotizing fasciitis, the infection begins deep in the soft tissue at the site of the minor trauma that frequently did not result in a break in the skin. Surgical procedures, viral infections such as varicella and influenza, penetrating trauma, insect bites, slivers, and burns may provide portals of entry (Goldman, L. & Bennett, J., 2000).
Although TSS has occurred in men, most cases (90% or more) have been reported in women of childbearing age (McPhee, S., Papadakis, M., & Tierney Jr., L. 2004). The majority of TSS cases have been females under the age of thirty years...