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Ecofect Press Release – 10 March 2020

On The March 10, 2020

Recent results on the VMMTSS project (see more here) directed by Gérard Lina and Claire Prigent-Combaret and funded by the Ecofect LabEx have just been published in eClinicalMedecine.

The menstrual toxic shock syndrome is a rare infection linked to the presence of Staphylococcus aureus in the vaginal microbiota of some women, a bacteria which can produce the toxin TSST-1. However, the presence of this bacteria does not in itself explain the toxic shock. Woman also need to lack the antibodies that are capable of fighting TSST-1 and they need to be using intravaginal protection (tampon, menstrual cup…) for too long.

The study directed by Ecofect researchers from Inserm, CNRS, ENS, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 and Hospices Civils de Lyon, within the International Center for Research in Infectious Diseases and the National Reference Center for Staphylococcus aureus, and funded by the LabEx Ecofect within the VMMTSS project have shown that the risk of toxic shock syndrom:

  • doubles when tampons are kept for longer than 6 hours
  • triples when kept overnight (when the duration of use can be up to 8 hours or longer)
This study, conducted on 180 women, and published in eClinicalMedecine on March 10, 2020, will need to be confirmed with a larger population and will need to be completed by toxicity analyzes, which would the only way to prove a causal link.

In the meantime, researchers recommend to widely inform young women on the causes and risk factors responsible for this pathology. They also need to be informed on the good practices regarding the use of intravaginal menstrual protections, in particular by limiting the wearing to a maximum of 6 hours.

Link to the press release

Reference article:

Association of characteristics of tampon use with menstrual toxic shock syndrome in France
Amaury Billon, Marie-Paule Gustin, Anne Tristan, Thomas Bénet, Julien Berthiller, Claude Alexandre Gustave, Philippe Vanhems, Gérard Lina (2020).
EClinicalMedicine – published on 10 March 2020 | PDF