COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) - Toxic Shock Syndrome hasn't been in the headlines for years butit recently appeared in Columbus, Indiana, claiming the life of ayoung girl in her prime.
Amy Elifritz, a budding graphic design artist, died suddenlyJune 13 from multiple organ failure, respiratory distress and heartdamage: the classic signs of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Her mother, Lisa, believes it was a tampon that caused herdaughter's death.
Amy fit the description of a typical victim of toxic shock. Shewas young, just 20 years old, and menstruating.
Doctors understand how this deadly syndrome is born. TSS iscaused by staphylococcus aureas, a virulent bacteria that needsblood and oxygen to live.
Super absorbent tampons may be the culprit.
If the tampons aren't changed every four to eight hours,there is a chance the staph begins to grow and, in turn, produces adeadly toxin that Amy's parents believe caused her body to shutdown.
Data shows for every 100,000 tampon-using women, three to fourmay come down with toxic shock.
Here in Indiana, the State Department of Health reports twocases in 2008 and 16 cases between 1999 and 2008.
It's rare, but there are signs toxic shock may be making acomeback.
Researchers say girls are getting their periods at youngerages and are more likely to use tampons than previousgenerations.
Amy Elifritz's family simply wants answers and assurances thatother young girls won't suffer the same fate by simply using atampon.
Cases of toxic shock decreased suddenly in the 1980s after atampon brand called "Rely" was taken off the market.
Thirty eight women died from TSS that year.
And there is a theory that tampon companies still usesynthetic fibers and chlorine compounds instead of pure cotton,providing a capable host for the bacterium to grow.
Amy's sister has posted a note on Facebook explaining Amy's story. Thenote contains information about Toxic Shock and what to look for toprevent it.
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