Children's Hospital Colorado

Discussing Toxic Shock Syndrome with the Physician Who Discovered It (S3:E47)

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a cluster of symptoms that involves many systems of the body. Certain bacterial infections release toxins into the bloodstream, which then spreads the toxins to body organs and can cause severe damage and illness.

Listen to pediatric experts discuss toxic shock syndrome

In this episode, we discuss the diagnosis and management of TSS with Jim Todd, MD, the physician who first discovered TSS in 1975.

Dr. Todd is the previous Section Head of Infectious Diseases, Jules Amer Chair in Community Pediatrics and Director of Epidemiology at Children’s Hospital Colorado. He is also a Professor Emeritus in Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

In this episode, our experts discuss:

  • What was happening in 1975 when Dr. Todd first discovered toxic shock syndrome
  • How they decided on the name “toxic shock syndrome”
  • The ages of children who seem to be most at risk for TSS
  • How to differentiate between the menstrual and non-menstrual causes (or staphylococcus versus streptococcus)
  • The desquamation that is typically seen two weeks later with TSS
  • Whether this condition looked like staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome in the beginning when they were trying to unravel the mystery of the disease
  • Whether primary care providers can evaluate and treat the disease in their office or if the patient should be referred somewhere else to be evaluated
  • The type of culture to perform for diagnostic workup
  • The prevalence of TSS today and whether it’s changed over the decades
  • Whether it’s safe for females who have had TSS from tampon use to use tampons again

Treatment of infectious diseases at Children’s Colorado

Our pediatric experts in the Infectious Disease Program at Children's Colorado provide a breadth of expertise ranging from laboratory-based research to the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. Pediatricians can treat many infectious diseases, but when unique or different symptoms are present, it’s important to refer to a pediatric specialist.

Refer a patient to Children’s Colorado.