What Is Sepsis? - Definition of Sepsis
Sepsis arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. It may lead to shock, multi-organ failure, and death - especially if not recognized early and treated promptly. Sepsis is the final common pathway to death from most infectious diseases worldwide.
Sepsis - A global Health Crisis
Sepsis is a global health crisis.
It affects 27 to 30 million people every year, 7 to 9 million die – one death every 3.5 seconds.
Depending on country, mortality varies between 15 and more than 50 %.
Many surviving patients suffer from the consequences of sepsis for the rest of their lives.
Impact in AFRICA
Each year in Africa, millions of individuals develop sepsis. Many do not survive, and an additional one-third of survivors die during the following year. Many survivors face life-long consequences, such as new physical, mental, and cognitive problems.
Sepsis - Common Causes
Most types of microorganisms can cause sepsis, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. However, it may also be caused by infections with seasonal influenza viruses, dengue viruses, and highly transmissible pathogens of public health concern; such as avian and swine influenza viruses, Ebola, and yellow fever viruses.
Sepsis often presents as the clinical deterioration of common and preventable infections such as those of the respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary tract, or of wounds and skin. Sepsis is frequently under-diagnosed at an early stage - when it still is potentially reversible.
Sepsis - Symptoms
The following symptoms might indicate sepsis:
Slurred speech or confusion
Extreme shivering or muscle pain, fever
Passing no urine all day
It feels like you’re going to die
Skin mottled or discolored
If you have a confirmed or suspected infection and are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your local hospital or physician immediately.
Sepsis - Risk Groups
Everybody can get sepsis, no matter how healthy or how good in shape you are, or where you live. Certain people are at an even higher risk. Those include:
Children under 1
Adults over 60
People with no spleen
People with chronic diseases, e.g. lung, liver, heart
People with weakened immune systems, e.g. AIDS, Diabetes
Sepsis is the number one cause of preventable death worldwide. The best way to prevent sepsis is to prevent infection in the first place, which can be done by:
Prevent hospital-acquired infections (HAIs)
Post-Sepsis Symptoms (PSS)
Sepsis does not end at hospital discharge. Many sepsis survivors suffer from the consequences of sepsis for the rest of their lives. These can include:
World Sepsis Day - September 13
World Sepsis Day was initiated by the Global Sepsis Alliance in 2012. Every year on September 13th, events in all parts of the world raise awareness for sepsis worldwide. There are events for medical professionals, sport activities, photo exhibitions, pink picnics, gala events, dinners, public events such as open houses in hospitals and healthcare facilities, and of course online events, such as campaigns on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, as well as many more social networks.
For sepsis-related material, please download the fact sheet on sepsis in Africa below or visit the toolkit sections from our friends at World Sepsis Day.