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March 12, 1982

Toxic Shock Syndrome Associated With Surgical Wound Infections

Author Affiliations

From the Field Services Division, the Epidemiology Program Office (Dr Bartlett), and the Bacterial Diseases Division, Center for Infectious Diseases (Drs Reingold and Dan), Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta; the Springfield Clinic, Springfield, Ill (Drs Graham and Wichterman); and the Grants Pass Clinic, Grants Pass, Ore (Drs Selinger and Tank). At the time of this study, Dr Bartlett was assigned to the Illinois Department of Public Health. He is currently at Michigan State University, East Lansing.

JAMA. 1982;247(10):1448-1450. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320350052030

In 13 cases of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) associated with postoperative wound infections, clinical findings were similar to those observed in cases of TSS in menstruating women. While local signs of a surgical wound infection were minimal, Staphylococcus aureus was recovered from cultures of wounds in 12 of 12 patients; multiple blood cultures were negative for 11 of 11 patients. Toxic shock syndrome due to surgical wound infections accompanied a wide variety of surgical procedures in both men and women and was not necessarily associated with menstruation in women. The median interval between surgery and onset of TSS was two days. Toxic shock syndrome can develop in association with surgical wound infections caused by S aureus and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of postoperative fever and hypotension.

(JAMA 1982;247:1448-1450)