Toxic shock syndrome and lysogeny in Staphylococcus aureus

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Science  15 Apr 1983:
Vol. 220, Issue 4594, pp. 316-318
DOI: 10.1126/science.6220467


Lysogeny, or the presence of temperate bacteriophage, was demonstrated, by means of two Staphylococcus aureus indicator strains, in 11 of 12 strains of S. aureus isolated from patients with toxic shock syndrome. Only 1 of 18 strains of S. aureus that were not associated with toxic shock syndrome showed the presence of bacteriophage. A laboratory strain of S. aureus was lysogenized by bacteriophage from two of the toxic shock-associated strains. These results add support to the theory that lysogeny by one or more bacteriophage in certain strains of S. aureus may be responsible for the pathogenesis of toxic shock syndrome.