Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS) is a recognised clinical entity that affects primarily the very young and, in rare cases, the very old or the immunocompromised. Koch's postulates have been fulfilled in that: (i) is isolated from every case; (ii) can reproduce the syndrome in an experimental animal model; (iii) a specific extracellular toxin can reproduce the syndrome; and (iv) antibody to the toxin can protect experimental animals. Although exfoliative toxin (ET) is responsible for the skin loosening seen in SSSS, it does not account for all the symptoms of the disease. Purified ET does not cause erythema in either neonatal mice or man, and the lesions are not painful unless the loosened epidermis is removed. This suggests that other factors, e.g., δ-haemoiysin, are involved in the pathogenesis of this condition. Although much has been learned about the pathogenesis of the syndrome, we are still largely ignorant of the factors which govern host resistance to SSSS (i.e., intoxication by ET-producing strains of ). It is fortunate from the patient's point of view that the aetiological agent can be destroyed readily by the use of appropriate antibiotic therapy.


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