South East Wales

Monmouthshire family's call after girl's toxic shock syndrome death

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Media captionNatasha Scott-Falber thought she was recovering from a sickness bug

The family of a teenager who died after using a tampon for the first time are calling for the effects of toxic shock syndrome to be taught in all schools.

Natasha Scott-Falber, 14, from Caerwent, Monmouthshire, died in her sleep in 2013 and thought she had been recovering from a sickness bug.

Her mother said she had been unaware of the symptoms of toxic shock syndrome, which can affect those wearing tampons.

AM William Graham is backing the campaign.

According to advice from NHS Choices, toxic shock syndrome (TSS) can affect men, women and children, and it can be caused by insect bites or burns.

But for reasons that are still not understood, a significant proportion of cases occur in women who are on their period and using a tampon, and particularly those designed to be "super absorbent".

Doctors say the risk of toxic shock syndrome is greater in young people.

It is thought that this is because many older people have developed immunity to the toxins produced by the bacteria.

'Read leaflet'

Natasha's family said she did not know why she was ill and thought she was recovering from the sickness bug norovirus.

Her mother Mandy said that despite being aware of the risks, she did not know enough to recognise the symptoms of TSS when Natasha became ill.

"Because she was poorly I kept checking that she had taken the last tampon out..." she said.

"I asked her on three occasions. The last time I asked her she told me off and said 'Mummy I've taken the tampon out, it's fine', so I promised I wouldn't say anything about it again.

"If I have known the symptoms... I told her to read the leaflet; I didn't read the leaflet. So that's why we're doing the campaign, to get people to know the symptoms."

Conservative south Wales east assembly member Mr Graham who is backing the family's call, said it should become part of the curriculum so all children in Wales are told clearly what could happen and what to do it it does.

Life threatening

According to the toxic shock syndrome information service Organisation, funded and supported by manufactures of sanitary protection products in the UK, one in three people in the UK carry the bacteria which causes it.

Some 40 people a year go on to develop toxic shock syndrome and every year two or three people die.

But experts in the field say that while it is a serious life threatening condition, if diagnosed and treated early with antibiotics, there is a good chance of recovery, and improvement is usually shown within 48 hours.

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