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Five years ago, the medical community was first notified of the sudden emergence of what appeared to be a new and extraordinary illness.1 Since that time, the Centers for Disease Control has received reports of more than 2,500 cases of what we now know as "toxic shock syndrome" (TSS).
Investigations quickly uncovered that TSS had a peculiar predilection for young women during their menses and that recurrences of the illness arose in subsequent menstrual periods.2 Studies of the menstrually associated cases demonstrated that the disease in these women was associated with the use of tampons and with vaginal infection with Staphylococcus aureus.3
Despite its recent recognition, descriptions of staphylococcal illnesses indistinguishable from TSS have appeared for more than 50 years.4-7 Studies of nonmenstrual TSS have shown that these cases too are associated with staphylococcal infection.8,9 The vast majority of all recovered TSS staphylococcal isolates are
Dan BB. Prevention and Treatment of Toxic Shock Syndrome: A Retrospective Look. JAMA. 1984;252(24):3411–3412. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350240057042
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