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Toxic Shock Syndrome

This is caused by a toxin produced by staphylococcus. It was first observed in the late 1970's. Most commonly it was seen in young women who were menstruating. It was also observed following surgical procedures.

It is also associated with deep skin infections such as abscesses and post-partum. A source of entry can also be the site of infusion sites for insulin pumps.

This starts suddenly with high fevers, diarrhea, headaches, sore throats and aches and pains. It progresses to a state of shock. Initially there is diffusa redness that starts on the trunk and spreads outwards. There is swelling on the palms and soles. The mouth and tongue become red as do the eyes. There is often general swelling of these areas.

This is followed by peeling of skin particularly on the palms and soles after one to three weeks.


Intensive care is required to support the blood pressure and the organs. Any source of infection such as tampons must be removed. Oral antibiotics are required.

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