Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare, often life-threatening
illness that develops suddenly after a bacterial infection and can rapidly
affect several different organ systems, including the lungs, kidneys, and
liver. Because toxic shock syndrome progresses quickly, immediate medical
treatment is needed.
Toxic shock syndrome can be caused by Streptococcus pyogenes (group A strep) or Staphylococcus aureus
(staph) bacteria. Symptoms of TSS usually include high fever, vomiting and
diarrhea, a rash that looks like a sunburn, and signs of very low blood
pressure and shock, including confusion, fainting, or dizziness.
Toxic shock syndrome can affect men, women, and children. The most
familiar cases of TSS are related to tampon use, but TSS may also be a rare
complication of chickenpox, flu and other respiratory infections, and wounds or
injuries to the skin.