Tampon toxic shock cases rise to 5 in Michigan

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LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed a cluster of Toxic Shock Syndrome cases in the state are linked to tampons.

MDHHS reported another young woman in Oakland County suffered TSS, bringing the case count to five since December 2015.

The MDHHS said for the past decade, the state has averaged fewer than four cases of TSS each year.

Last month, the Kent County Health Department reported four cases of TSS in West Michigan this year, including two in Kent County and one in Mason County. The fourth case was in Montcalm County, involving 15-year-old Rylie Whitten, who had one of the most severe cases doctors had seen.

None of this year’s cases have been fatal.

In West Michigan, all four girls used super-absorbent tampons. MDHHS said four out of five cases involved the Playtex Sport brand. In the fifth case, the young woman was using U by Kotex.

State health officials said they’ve notified the Food and Drug Administration about the series of cases.

Health officials said TSS is rare, but the risk is higher with higher absorbency tampons and when women use tampons longer than advised.

TSS is caused by bacterial infection from Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes.

It causes flu-like symptoms, which can progress into low blood pressure, rash and shock with multi-organ dysfunction.

MDHHS said it is working closely with local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor cases and provide clinical guidance.

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