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Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome is a serious illness that occurs in response to the absorption of a bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) into the general circulation. Most cases occur in women who are menstruating. In order for toxic shock syndrome to develop, the person must be colonized with the bacterium Staph aureus and there must be a port of entry for the bacteria.

Common sites of entry can be abrasions in the vaginal area or on the skin. Women who use tampons that are too absorbent are at risk for developing this syndrome because insertion and removal of the tampon can cause microabrasions that can allow the Staph aureus to enter the general circulation. After this occurs, the bacteria produce a powerful toxin