Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome; Toxic shock-like syndrome; TSLS
Toxic shock syndrome is a serious disease that involves fever, shock, and problems with several body organs.
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. Very few 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 Streptococcus 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:
Eckert LO, Lentz GM. Genital tract infections: vulva, vagina, cervix, toxic shock syndrome, endometritis, and salpingitis. In: Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, Lobo RA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 23.
Kroshinsky D. Macular, papular, purpuric, vesiculobullous, and pustular diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 410.
Que Y-A, Moreillon P. Staphylococcus aureus (including staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 194.
Rapose A. Toxic shock syndrome. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2022. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier 2022:680-682.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 4/9/2022
Reviewed By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Associate in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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