Toxic shock-like syndrome (TSLS) is characterized by hypotension or shock, fever, multiorgan system involvement, and a concurrent group A streptococcal infection. We analyzed 34 streptococcal strains isolated from patients with clinically well-documented TSLS for their pyrogenic toxin profiles and M-protein types. Although strains of nine different M types were represented in the sample, 74% of the isolates were of either M type 1 or 3. It was determined that 53% produced streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin type A under in vitro growth conditions and that 85% contained the gene encoding this toxin. These values are in contrast to the published value of 15% for the incidence of this gene in a sample of general group A streptococcal isolates. As has been found with all group A streptococci examined to date, regardless of disease association, 100% of TSLS-associated isolates contained the gene encoding pyrogenic exotoxin type B. This toxin was detectably produced by 59% of isolates. The gene encoding pyrogenic toxin type C was found in only 21% of isolates. We conclude that the pyrogenic exotoxin type A gene is associated with group A streptococcal strains isolated from patients with TSLS and may play a causative role in this illness. However, other factors are also likely to be important, since not all strains from patients with TSLS contained the A toxin gene.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)