In 1980, 890 cases of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) were reported and nine out of 10 cases were associated with menstruation and linked to the use of higher absorbency tampons.

Today, TSS is relatively rare, but but serious clinical syndrome typically caused by bacterial infection due to Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes. Toxic shock progresses quickly. Its symptoms include: sudden fever, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, muscle aches, low blood pressure, rash, and shock with multi-organ dysfunction. The case fatality rate is reported as four percent nationally.

CIDRAP Director and author of the book, Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs, Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH discussed this investigation from nearly four decades ago.

Originally recorded on the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show on Apr. 30, 2017.


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