Pet Food Worker Gets Toxic Shock Syndrome From Pig Carcass

A man in Australia working in a pet food processing plant contracted a syndrome that is usually associated with women who use tampons, according to a report in the May 5 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.

The 41-year-old man developed the human form of toxic shock syndrome from the carcass of a pig while processing animals at a Melbourne plant in April 2007, according to the report.

Doctors investigating the case believe three other human infections have occurred elsewhere in Australia.

The man survived a weeklong bout of severe fever, headache, diarrhea, vomiting and dizziness, and has since changed jobs, his doctors at Royal Melbourne Hospital said in the journal.

Animal-to-human outbreaks of the disease are extremely rare, but have killed meat workers in Asia, most recently in China where 215 butchers and processors were infected in 2005, killing more than half, the journal report said.

Toxic shock can be fatal if not caught early. It can be contracted through cuts and burns, as well as through the vagina (via tampon), or pharynx. Approximately half the cases of staphylococcal TSS reported in the U.S. are associated with tampon use during menstruation.

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