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Toxic Shock Syndrome What Is It? Identify Symptoms Icidence Rates Individuals Affected Treatment Options Prevention Strategies

1173 words - 5 pages

Toxic Shock SyndromeIn 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 of age who use tampons (especially super-absorbent). Although the exact connection between tampons and Staphylococcus bacteria is still not clear, researchers suspect that certain types of high-absorbency tampons provided a moist, warm home where the bacteria could thrive. Diaphragms, contraceptive sponges, and other vaginal devices may also increase a woman's risk for the illness. TSS can occur in older females who do not use tampons and males as well. The reasons for the association between TSS and tampon use remain unclear, but the number of reported cases of TSS has dropped dramatically since the "super-absorbent" tampons were taken off the market. Tampon manufacturers now include information about TSS in all tampon boxes.When TSS occurs in males or females who do not use tampons, there is usually an association with a staphylococcal infection somewhere in the body such as, an infected wound or a skin abscess. Staphylococcus aureus lives harmlessly on the skin, in the nose, armpit, groin, and vagina in one of every three people.TSS is extremely rare and a majority of doctors will not be exposed to a case of TSS. There are approximately...

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