Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare but life-threatening acute bacterial infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. The symptoms of TSS begin with a sudden high fever followed by flu-like symptoms including headache, muscle aches, sore throat and cough, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and a widespread, flat, red skin rash that rapidly develop in the course of a few hours. The average incidence of TSS is 1-2 per 100,000 individuals. TSS is most commonly associated with women who use high-absorbency tampons.
Patients with a suspected TSS must be treated immediately. Intravenous penicillin G should be administered in addition to a beta-lactamase resistant antibiotic until a bacteriologic diagnosis is confirmed by culture. Aggressive fluid management, ventilation, renal replacement therapy and inotropic support are essential as supportive care. A potential P-12 peptide against the virulent strains of staphylococcal and streptococcal bacteria that produce toxic shock syndrome has been developed by Israeli researchers and has been found to be effective in mice.