Severe staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome in children

Burns. 2008 Feb;34(1):98-103. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2007.02.006. Epub 2007 Jul 17.


Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS) is a rare toxin-mediated condition caused by Staphylococcus aureus, which causes blistering and desquamation of the skin. Between November 2005 and April 2006, four children were admitted to critical care beds in the South West Regional Paediatric Burns Unit because of SSSS affecting more than 50% of the body surface area. Details of these cases are presented, highlighting the potential severity of the condition. The cases also illustrate that fluid overload is a common complication of the condition, despite hypovolaemia being the more obvious risk, and that both hyponatraemia and leukopenia are frequent findings. These summaries clearly demonstrate the need for paediatric critical care in a tertiary burns unit for children with SSSS affecting a large proportion of the body surface area. The cluster of admissions prompted us to write a management protocol for children with severe SSSS and a summary of this is provided. Most children with SSSS will initially present to general paediatric units, where mild cases will be managed, but severe cases should be promptly referred to a tertiary paediatric burns unit for multi-disciplinary care in a critical care environment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia / methods
  • Bandages
  • Burn Units
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Enteral Nutrition / methods
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Hyponatremia / etiology
  • Hyponatremia / therapy
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Patient Care Team
  • Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome / pathology
  • Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome / therapy*
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance / etiology
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance / therapy