Sepsis 'behind one in five deaths worldwide' - what is the condition?

Sepsis kills twice as many people worldwide as previously believed. [Photo: Getty]

Sepsis may be behind one in five deaths globally, research suggests.

Scientists from the universities of Pittsburgh and Washington found 48.9m people developed the life-threatening condition in 2017, of which 11m died.

This represents one in five fatalities worldwide, twice as many as previously believed.

“We are alarmed to find sepsis deaths are much higher than previously estimated, especially as the condition is both preventable and treatable,” study author Dr Mohsen Naghavi, from the University of Washington, said.

READ MORE: Woman fears for unborn baby after botched tummy tuck left her battling sepsis

When fighting an infection, the body releases chemicals into the bloodstream to help eliminate the offending pathogen.

Sepsis occurs when the body over-reacts, throwing the chemicals out of balance so they damage vital organs.

This should not be confused with septicaemia, or blood poisoning, which comes about when bacteria enter the bloodstream.

To understand the global burden of sepsis, the scientists used studies and hospital records to analyse cases and deaths between 1990 and 2017.

Rates are improving, with fatalities falling by 30% from 15.7m to 11m, results - published in The Lancet - show.

The number of cases also went down by 19% from 60.2m to 48.9m.

Yet, the condition is still a real concern, particularly in developing countries, where 85% of cases occur.

Sub-Saharan Africa; the South Pacific islands near Australia; and south, east and southeast Asia suffer most.

“I've worked in rural Uganda and sepsis is what we saw every single day,” lead author Dr Kristina Rudd said.

“Watching a baby die of a disease that could have been prevented with basic public health measures really sticks with you.

“But sepsis is still a problem here in the US, where it is the number one killer of hospital patients.”

READ MORE: Baby loses his limbs to sepsis following an undiagnosed throat infection

The scientists found women are more at risk than men.

Children are also vulnerable, with over 40% of cases occurring in children under five.

Sepsis is often considered an “intermediate” cause of death, as it occurs in response to an underlying infection.

The scientists found lower respiratory infections, like pneumonia or tuberculosis, were the most common underlying cause of sepsis-related deaths in both 1990 and 2017.

“So what is the solution?,” Dr Rudd said. “Well, to start with it's basic public health infrastructure.

“Vaccines, making sure everyone has access to a toilet and clean drinking water, adequate nutrition for children and maternal health care would address a lot of these cases.

“Everyone can reduce their odds of developing it by getting the flu shot and the pneumonia vaccine when appropriate.

“Beyond that, we need to do a better job preventing hospital-acquired infections and chronic diseases, like diabetes, that make people more susceptible to infections.”

Any pathogen can cause sepsis, but bacteria are usually to blame. [Photo: Getty]

Who gets sepsis? What are the symptoms?

Sepsis can happen to anyone in response to any infection. Bacteria are usually to blame, however, even a cold can set the condition off in theory.

Those most at risk include the elderly, pregnant women, babies and those with chronic conditions or weak immune systems.

Symptoms can be vague and hard to spot, mimicking those of flu or a chest infection.

Babies and children may develop blue, pale or blotchy skin, which also affects their lips and tongue, according to the NHS.

READ MORE: What is sepsis? What are the early signs to look out for?

Some may also have a rash that does not fade when a glass is rolled over it, like with meningitis.

Difficulty breathing, a weak or high-pitched cry and disinterest in feeding or normal activities should also raise alarm bells.

Young sufferers may also be sleepier then normal or difficult to wake.

The above may also occur in adults, alongside confusion and slurred speech.

Also look out for vomiting, swelling or redness around a cut, a very high or low temperature, and a lack of urination.

Can sepsis be prevented? How is it treated?

Sepsis cannot always be prevented, however, staying up-to-date on vaccinations may help.

The NHS also recommends cleaning any wounds, taking antibiotics as prescribed and washing hands regularly.

If sepsis does develop, patients require immediate hospital treatment.

Failure to be treated early can lead to septic shock.

This occurs when the toxins produced by bacteria damage small blood vessels, causing them to leak fluid into surrounding tissue, according to NHS Inform.

The heart is then less able to pump blood, which lowers blood pressure, preventing it reaching vital organs.

Once in hospital, sepsis patients should be given antibiotics.

Some may require a ventilator to help them breathe and surgery to remove areas of infection.

Sepsis-shock sufferers may be given medication to increase blood flow and IV fluids.

Most sepsis patients make a full recovery, however, it can take time.

Post-sepsis syndrome can lead to fatigue, a lack of appetite, susceptibility to infections and even flashbacks or nightmares.

The Sepsis UK Trust has more information on the condition itself and post-sepsis syndrome.

  • Group of more than 1,000 judges calls emergency meeting amid Trump concerns
    The Guardian

    Group of more than 1,000 judges calls emergency meeting amid Trump concerns

    A national association of federal judges has called an emergency meeting to address growing concerns about the intervention of Donald Trump and justice department officials in politically sensitive cases, according to US media reports. Cynthia Rufe, a Philadelphia US district judge who heads the independent Federal Judges Association, which has more than 1,100 members, told USA Today the group “could not wait” until its spring conference to discuss the matter. The meeting comes after more than 2,000 former US justice department officials, including some of the top government lawyers in the country, called on the attorney general, William Barr, to resign in the wake of the Roger Stone scandal.

  • Sanders Campaign Manager Slams MSNBC, Says Fox News Is ‘More Fair’
    National Review

    Sanders Campaign Manager Slams MSNBC, Says Fox News Is ‘More Fair’

    Bernie Sanders's campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, has accused MSNBC of employing “double standard” in its coverage of the Vermont senator, claiming in an interview published Tuesday that Fox News is “more fair” in critiquing Sanders's progressive platform. That's saying something,” Shakir told Vanity Fair. Fox is often yelling about Bernie Sanders's socialism, but they're still giving our campaign the opportunity to make our case in a fair manner, unlike MSNBC, which has credibility with the left and is constantly undermining the Bernie Sanders campaign.

  • Mom, daughter plead not guilty to slaying 5 close relatives
    Associated Press

    Mom, daughter plead not guilty to slaying 5 close relatives

    A mother and her adult daughter pleaded not guilty Tuesday to killing five of their close relatives, including three children, at an apartment outside Philadelphia. Forty-six-year-old Shana Decree and her 20-year-old daughter Dominique Decree sat side by side in court in suburban Bucks County and affirmed their pleas to charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy. The pair barely spoke, except to respond to the judge's questions about the charges and their pleas.

  • Coronavirus cases in China's Hubei fall for second day, Apple and markets feel impact
    Reuters

    Coronavirus cases in China's Hubei fall for second day, Apple and markets feel impact

    BEIJING/GENEVA (Reuters) - New coronavirus cases in the Chinese province at the epicenter of the outbreak fell for a second straight day, but deaths rose after the World Health Organization had cautioned there was not yet enough data to know if the epidemic had slowed. Hubei reported 1,693 new cases as of Tuesday, down from 1,807 the previous day and the lowest number in the province since Feb. 11. The latest figures bring the total number of cases in China to over 74,000 with about 2,000 deaths.

  • Missing more than a year, an abandoned 'ghost ship' washed ashore on the other side of the Atlantic
    USA TODAY

    Missing more than a year, an abandoned 'ghost ship' washed ashore on the other side of the Atlantic

    A "ghost ship" abandoned for over a year and drifting in the Atlantic finally washed ashore in Ireland amid Storm Dennis' choppy water, the country's coast guard says. The MV Alta was found on the coast near Ballycotton, a small town in southern Ireland's County Cork, with no crew on board, the Irish Coast Guard said Sunday. The county's local council asked the public to stay away from the vessel as crews work to determine whether it posses any environmental risk.

  • Bloomberg

    Turkey Follows Landmark Acquittal With Order to Detain Kavala

    A Turkish prosecutor issued a warrant to detain businessman Osman Kavala only hours after an Istanbul court unexpectedly acquitted him in another case of plotting to overthrow the government during mass protests that rocked the country in 2013. Kavala, who was released earlier on Tuesday after nearly 840 days in prison, will be questioned as a part of an investigation into the 2016 coup attempt against Turkey's leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to state-run Anadolu Agency. The legal reversal caps a day that began with a surprise end to a trial that tested the limits of opposition to Erdogan.

  • 'Gun Girl' Kaitlin Bennett's appearance on Ohio University campus sparks protests
    NBC News

    'Gun Girl' Kaitlin Bennett's appearance on Ohio University campus sparks protests

    Conservative activist Kaitlin Bennett, also known as "Gun Girl," incited large-scale student protests Monday when she appeared on Ohio University's Athens campus to film a video. Bennett had arrived on campus to film a President's Day trivia video for the Liberty Hangout, which bills itself as a libertarian media outlet, according to both her and the site. Bennett has been a divisive figure since gaining notoriety in 2018 for posting controversial graduation photos of herself with an AR-10 rifle at Kent State University.

  • Michael Bloomberg Makes it to the Debate Stage. He May Regret It
    Time

    Michael Bloomberg Makes it to the Debate Stage. He May Regret It

    And other candidates will not forget to mention how he has used his vast personal wealth to enter the primary race on Super Tuesday — after voters in four states will have already weighed in. Bloomberg's entry into a race he once said he would skip shifted the campaign's axis. He has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars introducing himself to the nation and launching his bid with a coast-to-coast play before 14 states weigh in on March 3's Super Tuesday.

  • Police filmed a woman trying to sneak into Shanghai in the trunk of a car to avoid being quarantined for coronavirus
    Business Insider

    Police filmed a woman trying to sneak into Shanghai in the trunk of a car to avoid being quarantined for coronavirus

    South China Morning Post/YouTube On February 11, Shanghai, China, police recorded a woman trying to sneak into the city in the trunk of a car. Authorities said the woman had just visited Hubei Province, the center of the coronavirus outbreak, and was trying to avoid a mandatory quarantine. Both she and her friend who was driving the car were placed in quarantine after they were caught at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Shanghai.

  • Coronavirus Means the Federal Reserve Must Cut Interest Rates
    The National Interest

    Coronavirus Means the Federal Reserve Must Cut Interest Rates

    The Greenspan Fed was struggling to get inflation to its 2% target and inflation expectations were falling. The Federal Open Market Committee slashed the fed funds rate to 1.25% to stave off a further contraction in economic activity or inflation. The economic hit from the 2019 escalation of the U.S.-China trade war and the combination of the Iraq War and popping of the tech bubble are noteworthy in the similarity.

  • Iranian president says that he doesn't believe the U.S. will pursue war with his country
    Yahoo News Video

    Iranian president says that he doesn't believe the U.S. will pursue war with his country

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that he doesn't believe the U.S. will pursue war with his country because it will harm President Trump's 2020 reelection bid. Rouhani said Trump knows that war with Iran will “ruin his chances of winning the election.

  • Man arrested after allegedly tracking U.S. source for Russia
    CBS News

    Man arrested after allegedly tracking U.S. source for Russia

    A Mexican man residing in Singapore was arrested in the U.S. on Tuesday, after he allegedly tracked a U.S. government source for Russia in order to obtain the source's license plate number. Hector Alejandro Cabrera Fuentes has been charged with acting in the U.S. on behalf of a foreign government without notifying the attorney general, and conspiracy to do the same. Court documents allege that a Russian government official recruited Fuentes in 2019 and tasked him with renting a specific property in Miami-Dade County, Florida, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

  • Leaked data shows China's Uighurs detained due to religion
    Associated Press

    Leaked data shows China's Uighurs detained due to religion

    When a Chinese government mass detention campaign engulfed Memtimin Emer's native Xinjiang region three years ago, the elderly Uighur imam was swept up and locked away, along with three of his sons. The database profiles the internment of 311 individuals with relatives abroad in Karakax County, and lists information on more than 2,000 of their relatives, neighbors and friends. Taken as a whole, the database offers the fullest view yet into how Chinese officials decided who to put into and let out of detention camps, as part of a crackdown that has locked away more than a million ethnic minorities, most of them Muslims.

  • Stone sentencing to go ahead amid pardon speculation
    Reuters

    Stone sentencing to go ahead amid pardon speculation

    Roger Stone, a longtime friend of President Donald Trump, on Tuesday lost his bid to delay his sentencing amid speculation that Trump might pardon him. Stone is due to be sentenced on Thursday after he was found guilty in November of seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering. A lawyer for Stone on Tuesday argued that Thursday's sentencing hearing should be postponed until after U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson rules on a request he made for a new trial.

  • Hunter Biden Served on Board of Trade Group That Lobbied Obama Admin for Increased Ukraine Aid: Report
    National Review

    Hunter Biden Served on Board of Trade Group That Lobbied Obama Admin for Increased Ukraine Aid: Report

    Hunter Biden, son of former vice president Joe Biden, was on the board of a trade group that lobbied the Obama administration for increased U.S. aid to Ukraine, according to a report Tuesday. From 2012 through 2018, the younger Biden served as a director for the Center for U.S. Global Leadership and was connected as well with its affiliate, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, The Daily Caller reported. The two groups, which include about 400 larger corporations and non-government organizations, lobbied for increased spending abroad by the State Department's International Affairs Budget, including a special focus on Ukraine.

  • New Mexico woman who was pregnant with third child still missing three years later
    NBC News

    New Mexico woman who was pregnant with third child still missing three years later

    “Holidays will never be the same,” Jennifer told Dateline. Liz, as she is known by her family and friends, was four months pregnant with her third child. “She got in his truck and that's the last time I ever heard from her,” Amber said.

  • Bloomberg

    Hong Kong Double-Dip, Australia Puzzle, Singapore Spend: Eco Day

    Welcome to Wednesday, Asia. Here's the latest news and analysis from Bloomberg Economics to help get your day started: To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Heath in Sydney at mheath1@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Jackson at pjackson53@bloomberg.net, Alexandra Veroude For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source. ©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • The coronavirus is slamming the US travel industry, with experts predicting it will wipe out more than $10 billion in spending from Chinese visitors
    Business Insider

    The coronavirus is slamming the US travel industry, with experts predicting it will wipe out more than $10 billion in spending from Chinese visitors

    While the vast majority of coronavirus cases have been found in China and Asia, the US travel industry is also steeling itself to be ravaged by the rogue virus. A new report from consulting firm Tourism Economics has put some estimated numbers to that ravaging, saying it expects the US to lose about 1.6 million visitors from mainland China as a result of the coronavirus, translating to a 28% drop for 2020. The report tallied expected losses from Chinese visitor spending at $10.3 billion — more than half of which are expected occur this year.

  • The Turkish Trap: How Erdogan Made New Enemies and Enraged the Arab Community
    The National Interest

    The Turkish Trap: How Erdogan Made New Enemies and Enraged the Arab Community

    As the Syrian military backed by the Russian air force takes another strategic town in Idlib, thereby inching closer towards the Turkish border, the endgame for Turkey in Syria has begun. The Syrian government has also taken the key highway that links Damascus to Aleppo and secured Aleppo from the incoming Turkish backed rebel artillery. Diplomatically the first acknowledged meeting between the Turkish and Syrian intelligence chiefs in Moscow just over a week ago heralded the final act in Erdogan's quest to knock over President Bashar al-Assad.

  • Secession in the Pacific Northwest? Some Oregon residents petition to join Idaho
    USA TODAY

    Secession in the Pacific Northwest? Some Oregon residents petition to join Idaho

    Frustrated by liberal policies, some Oregon residents petitioned to leave the state – by moving the border with Idaho westward. The movement secured initial approval from two counties and aims to get enough signatures to put the proposal on ballots in November, according to the group called Greater Idaho. If the group succeeds, voters in southeast Oregon may see a question on whether their county should become part of Idaho by redrawing the border.

  • Airbnb security guard sentenced to prison for murdering US woman in Costa Rica
    The Independent

    Airbnb security guard sentenced to prison for murdering US woman in Costa Rica

    A security guard for an apartment complex with Airbnb rental units has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for the 2018 murder of an American tourist. Carla Stefaniak, a Venezuelan-American who lived in Miami, was in San Jose, Costa Rica, celebrating her 36th birthday when she was brutally murdered. On Monday, Bismarck Espinoza Martinez, originally from Nicaragua, was found guilty of fatally stabbing Ms Stefaniak on the night of 28 November, 2018.

  • Israel to allow hundreds more Gazans to enter for work
    Associated Press

    Israel to allow hundreds more Gazans to enter for work

    Israel will provide hundreds of additional work permits for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, an Israeli defense body said Tuesday, in a new step aimed at solidifying an informal cease-fire with the Hamas militant group. COGAT, the Israeli defense body responsible for civilian Palestinian affairs, said it was lifting certain restrictions on the territory starting Wednesday following days of “relative quiet” in the area surrounding Gaza. Israel blames the Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules Gaza, for ongoing fire emanating from the Gaza Strip, including a spate of explosive balloons launched from Gaza that have damaged Israeli properties.

  • Putin sacks prominent Kremlin ideologue, Ukraine hardliner
    Reuters

    Putin sacks prominent Kremlin ideologue, Ukraine hardliner

    Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday dismissed a veteran, once close adviser who until recently managed Moscow's relations with war-torn Ukraine. Putin fired Vladislav Surkov, seen as a hardliner by many in Kiev, in a terse two-line statement on the Kremlin website. The decree was issued a week after the Kremlin said a senior Ukrainian-born Russian official, Dmitry Kozak, was now in charge of managing Moscow's relations with Ukraine, effectively sidelining Surkov.

  • Michael Bloomberg Is a Condescending Jerk . . .
    National Review

    Michael Bloomberg Is a Condescending Jerk . . .

    The hunt is on for offensive clips of Michael Bloomberg talking off the cuff, and over the weekend a new one circulated. In the version passed around, Bloomberg nonchalantly tells his Oxford audience that he could teach anyone how to farm — “even people in this room”: “It's a process; you dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. He adds that modern “information economy” jobs require more “gray matter.

  • Roger Stone judge ignores Trump's taunts, leaves sentencing scheduled for Thursday
    The Week

    Roger Stone judge ignores Trump's taunts, leaves sentencing scheduled for Thursday

    Roger Stone will be sentenced on Thursday and President Trump can do nothing about it. That's the message U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who's overseeing the criminal case against Trump's longtime adviser, sent Tuesday when she confirmed the date of Stone's sentencing hearing. Despite receiving threats from Trump to delay the sentencing for a second time, that "would not be a prudent thing to do under all the circumstances," Jackson said.