Overview

Toxic shock syndrome is a rare, life-threatening complication of certain types of bacterial infections. Often toxic shock syndrome results from toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria, but the condition may also be caused by toxins produced by group A streptococcus (strep) bacteria.

Toxic shock syndrome has been associated primarily with the use of superabsorbent tampons. However, since manufacturers pulled certain types of tampons off the market, the incidence of toxic shock syndrome in menstruating women has declined.

Toxic shock syndrome can affect anyone, including men, children and postmenopausal women. Risk factors for toxic shock syndrome include skin wounds and surgery.