Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome (SSSS) is a serious skin disorder caused by infection with certain strains of Staphylococcus bacteria. These bacteria release exotoxins, specifically exfoliative toxins, which target the protein desmoglein-1 that helps cells in the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis) stick together. When these toxins disrupt the protein, they cause the skin cells to separate, leading to widespread blistering and the appearance of scalded skin.
The symptoms of SSSS typically begin with fever, irritability, and redness of the skin. The skin then becomes tender and forms fluid-filled blisters, which can easily rupture, leaving areas that look like burns or scalds. It's important to note that the mucous membranes, such as those in the mouth and eyes, are typically not involved in SSSS, which can help differentiate it from other similar-looking conditions.