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October 16, 1981

Toxic shock syndrome shared between couple

JAMA. 1981;246(16):1763. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320160007004

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A California woman and her husband have been treated almost simultaneously for toxic shock syndrome.

Although they do not exclude some outside, common source of the couple's problems, University of California, Davis, physicians who provided treatment say that the twin occurrence raises the possibility that toxic shock syndrome might be passed from one person to another. They add: "To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of toxic shock syndrome in a consort" (West J Med 1981;135:175-182).

Toxic shock syndrome first was described in 1978. It is believed to develop most often through vaginal infection or toxin absorption and thus to occur more often in women, usually during or shortly after menstruation and possibly in association with ulceration of the vaginal wall through use of certain tampons. But disruption of skin where staphylococci are present appears to make anyone, including men and children, potentially vulnerable.

In their report, Charles