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Toxic Shock Syndrome

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare but potentially fatal disease caused by toxins produced by two types of bacteria. It is most commonly associated with tampon use but has also been linked to the use of contraceptive diaphragms, wound infections, complications following surgery, and infection resulting from childbirth or abortion.

TSS is caused by the release of toxins from the strains of bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, and less commonly, Streptococcus pyogenes. Infections caused by the latter strain are called streptococcal toxic shocklike syndrome (σTSS), and although it is a similar syndrome to TSS, it is not identical. The median incubation period of infection of TSS is approximately 2 days.

Symptoms of TSS infection can develop very suddenly and typically include fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and muscle aches. ...

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