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Mayo Clin Proc. 1980 Nov;55(11):663-72.

Toxic shock syndrome, a newly recognized disease entity. Report of 11 cases.


The toxic shock syndrome has only recently been described. Eleven female patients aged 13 to 43 years (median 17) with toxic shock syndrome have been seen at the Mayo Clinic since August 1975. One patient died. Seven patients had one or more recurrences. As previously described, the syndrome was often life-threatening, afflicted mostly menstruating females, and was characterized by a very brief prodromal illness consisting of high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, headache, irritability, sore throat, myalgias, abdominal tenderness, and erythematous rash. The disorder can progress to hypotension or prolonged refractory shock, adult respiratory distress syndrome, diffuse intravascular coagulation with severe thrombocytopenia, and renal failure. Pancreatitis was observed in two cases. During convalescence, pronounced desquamation and peeling of the skin occurred. Numerous laboratory abnormalities are observed. In 5 of the 11 patients, Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from conjunctiva, oral cavity or nares, vagina, or stool. A recently described pyrogenic exotoxin was identified in the isolates of three patients; its etiologic role remains speculative. Therapy is mainly supportive. Antistaphylococcal therapy for the acute illness and for prevention of recurrences has not yet proved to be of any benefit. The role of vaginal tampons, if any, in the pathogenesis of this disorder remains unclear.

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