3-Year-Old Girl Was Scratched By A Kitten And Almost Died Of Toxic Shock Syndrome. How Did It Happen?

Most of us tend to associate toxic shock syndrome (TSS) with the use of tampons. Actually, this rare, life-threatening condition can affect any person of any age, as one Somerset family found out.

READ ALSO: "Children's Disease" Or Chickenpox: What Are The Symptoms And Can Adults Be Infected?

3-year-old almost lost her life to toxic shock syndrome

Lilanna Batstone, who was about to turn 3, was at home, recovering from chickenpox. She was playing with her kitten, and it accidentally scratched her neck.

Kelly, the girl’s mother, didn’t think it was serious and put her daughter to sleep. Lilanna woke up in the middle of the night, feeling really unwell. Her mother noticed that the site of the scratch looked infected and took her daughter to the nearest A&E.

Kelly and Lilanna had been in the waiting room for one hour, when the girl’s condition rapidly worsened. She was vomiting and developed a serious rash.

The doctors immediately started the girl on antibiotics and IV fluid. They managed to stabilize her condition in an hour, but the girl had to spend several days in hospital.

Kelly said her family was incredibly lucky. Toxic shock syndrome is rare, and not all doctors manage to recognize it right away and administer life-saving treatment in time. Lilanna’s doctor had just treated another patient with TSS about a month before that, so she immediately knew what was happening.

Lilanna is doing fine now, and her mother is working to educate others about toxic shock syndrome. She became involved with the charity TSS Aware and wants to spread the information about this dangerous condition to as many people as possible.

What is toxic shock syndrome, and how to recognize it?

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is an uncommon, potentially fatal complication of some bacterial infections, such as staph and strep. Most people associate TSS with superabsorbent tampons, but the tampons manufactured now are much safer, so fewer menstruating women are affected by TSS than before.

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READ ALSO: When A Tampon Can Become Deadly: 4 Important Signs Of Toxic Shock Syndrome

Symptoms of toxic shock syndrome can be easily confused with those of common bacterial and viral infections, except in TSS they are more severe. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of TSS may include the following:

  • a sudden spike in body temperature;
  • low blood pressure;
  • vomiting and diarrhea;
  • a rash that looks like a sunburn, especially on the palms and soles;
  • muscle aches;
  • confusion;
  • headaches;
  • seizures;
  • redness of the eyes, mouth, and throat.

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If you or your child has these symptoms, get medical help immediately.

In addition to using certain kinds of tampons, risk factors for TSS include the following:

  • having undergone surgery recently;
  • having cuts, burns, or scratches on the skin;
  • having an active viral infection, such as chickenpox or flu.

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In Lilanna’s case, the kitten scratched her chickenpox rash, and that allowed bacteria from under the kitty’s claw to enter the girl’s body and cause TSS.

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Memorize the symptoms of this dangerous condition, and get medical help immediately if you or someone around you looks and feels like he’s developed toxic shock syndrome. It may turn out to be something less dangerous, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

READ ALSO: Cat Scratch Disease: What It Is And 11 Tips To Avoid Getting Infected


This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.

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