RESEARCH- Clinicians at North Bristol NHS Trust have worked with scientists at the University of Bath to develop a prototype medical dressing that detects the first signs of the lethal Toxic Shock Syndrome along with other burn wound infections and could potentially save the lives of children with serious burns.

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is a serious complication of burn infections and particularly dangerous in children under four due to their immature immune systems. Left untreated, a child with a relatively small burn who develops TSS can rapidly deteriorate within a few hours. If left untreated, fifty per cent of children with the full-blown disease can die.

Scientists at the University of Bath have been working with clinicians at the South West Paediatric Burns Centre at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol to create an advanced wound dressing that can detect key microbial pathogens including the bacteria which cause TSS.

They have now developed a prototype dressing that releases dye from nanocapsules triggered by the presence of disease-causing pathogenic bacteria. The dye fluoresces under ultraviolet (UV) light, alerting healthcare professionals that the wound is infected.