Toxic shock syndrome: A grave condition occurring predominantly in menstruating women using tampons, toxic shock is characterized by a highly toxic state (with sudden high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aching) followed by low blood pressure (hypotension) which can lead to shock (and death). There may be a rash resembling sunburn with peeling of skin. The Channing Laboratory in Boston under Dr. Edw. Kass discovered that toxic shock was due to a toxin produced by Staph (Staphylococcus) aureus bacteria growing under conditions with little or no oxygen. The syndrome occurs rarely in women not using tampons and in men.