Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) Staphylococcus


by Jacquelyn Beatty


As a female, have you ever received chills, fever, lightheadedness, headache, muscle ache, or diarrhea? If so or if you ever get these symptoms you may have the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus or Toxic Shock Syndrome; better known as TSS. Also caused by Group A streptococcus. TSS came about in the 1980s with 90% of their cases in women who use tampons when menstruating. Knowing what the tampons were doing they decided to change it and TSS decreased by 40%.  Other people who are likely to receive TSS are children and elderly people, HIV and diabetes infected, and lung or cardiac disease. Any person who has been through nasal surgery and staph wounds that are already able to get inside their body are susceptible to TSS. Reservoir which is the source of an infecting microorganism is a human one in our case. Humans are the main source for why TSS happens.

On the back of a tampon box it tells you how TSS starts off with vomiting, high fever, lightheadedness, muscle ache etc. In 24 hours a rash will appear like a sun burn and within 3-4 days blood vessels would become broken, mental changes occur, fatigue, weakness, pale, feeling cool, and shock. TSS is frequently missed because the features are non-specific.

It is transmitted directly from person to person, respiratory secretions and droplet transmission can all bring out TSS in other ways; not just vaginal. Even though it is transmitted directly and indirectly it colonizes skin and mucous membranes in humans; mostly associated with tampons and contraceptives devices in women.  TSS can also occur indirectly with objects such as gymnastic/wrestling mats. Being able to receive some symptom of TSS directly and indirectly the incubation period in the body is from hours to days but in S. aureus it can be as short as 12 hours. After 1-2 weeks of having TSS; desquamation will stay on the palms and soles of the body. They do not test for TSS buy the labs do test for S. aureus. The labs must find the source of an outbreak which is usually a human and can happen in a day care center, and then they need to control the person-to-person transmission.

To prevent TSS daycares need to clean toys on a daily basis with a disinfectant, schools clean gym mats, and all sports equipment frequently. You need to have good hygiene by washing hands and cleaning your body well. Do not share drinks, cigarettes, food, etc. Get the Varicella vaccine and use a low absorbency tampon. S. aureus produces toxins that lead to TSS. Many/most adultsí immune system is able to fight against these antibodies, and for the people who do not have these antibodies it can ruin their immune system. Treating TSS you may have to drain or clean the infected site, replace fluids, receive medication, and could possible get on a respirator. Gas is a huge virulent factor with TSS; it is a pathogen responsible to soften tissues ushered by TSS.

In the U.S. there has been an annual incidence of TSS with 1-2/100,000 women in the ages of 15-44 years old. 5% of the cases end up being extremely fatal. There have been a couple of local cases of Toxic Shock Syndrome in Austin, but more in the state. There are no significant numbers one happened in 2001, but the patient did not pass away; they were able to clean and drain the infection.

In conclusion, with this research you are able to receive more information about Toxic Shock Syndrome better known as TSS and know that it is able to come about in different ways. S. aureus is able to work in many ways, not just with females in how they use contraceptives. TSS can happen to anyone not just women but men too and with the virulent factor of gas present a young teenage boy is able to receive TSS by just wrestling. I hope this information has brought to your attention to keep yourself with good hygiene and always washing your hands.