Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare but life-threatening illness caused by bacterial exotoxins produced by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria that enter the blood through wounds, burns or the vagina. Symptoms of TSS develop quickly with a high fever accompanied by confusion, hypotension, dizziness, vomiting or diarrhea. A sunburn-like rash is characteristic of TSS. The average incidence of TSS is 1 per 100,000 individuals. It can affect men, women and children. The risk of disease is greater in post-partum women and menstruating women.
TSS is a medical emergency and treated immediately. Treatment includes removing the source of infection, treating the infection with antibiotics, and fluids supplements, respiratory support and medications. Intravenous penicillin G should be administered in addition to a beta-lactamase resistant antibiotic until a bacteriologic diagnosis is confirmed by culture. Studies report that the administration of polyclonal intravenous gammaglobulins and immunoglobulins reduce mortality in TSS patients 50 to 20%.