Campaign to raise awareness of little-known but widespread killer, sepsis

NEAS conducts research into condition, and educates staff

It's largely unknown to the general public, and poorly understood by many health professionals. Yet sepsis - a chemical reaction in the body to bacteria - is one of the biggest killers in the world.

Globally, more than twenty to thirty million people are affected every year, claiming more lives than bowel and breast cancer combined.

NEAS is teaching all staff about the illness, and also carrying out research into sepsis.

A person dies from sepsis somewhere in the world every few seconds.

The first World Sepsis Day will take place on September 13th 2012, with the aim of raising public and professional awareness of the illness.

The symptoms of sepsis are not caused by the germs themselves. Instead, chemicals the body releases cause the response.

A bacterial infection anywhere in the body may set off the response that leads to sepsis. Common places where an infection might start include:

For patients in hospital, common sites of infection include intravenous lines, surgical wounds, surgical drains, and sites of skin breakdown known as bedsores (decubitus ulcers).

In the developed world, sepsis is dramatically increasing by an annual rate of between 8-13 % Reasons are diverse, but include the aging population, increasing use of high-risk interventions in all age groups, and the development of drug-resistant and more virulent varieties of infections.

In the developing world malnutrition, poverty, lack of access to vaccines and timely treatment all contribute to death.

Despite its remarkable incidence, sepsis is practically unknown to the public and is often misunderstood as blood poisoning

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Copyright 2011 North East Ambulance Service Trust

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