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Dr. Amanda Brosnahan, Dr. Taylor Mach
S. aureus is an opportunistic bacteria present in the anterior nares of roughly one third of the human population. One of the toxins certain strains are known to produce is toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST-1). This can cause both menstrual and non-menstrual toxic shock syndrome (TSS), but is more widely known for the menstrual variation due to the high onset of TSS in women from high absorbency tampons in the 1980s. An analysis of survey data found that surprisingly more men carried S. aureus strains with the TSST-1 gene than women.