Know the signs of sepsis to save lives!

13 September 2021

13 September marks the tenth anniversary of the annual World Sepsis Day, an initiative of the Global Sepsis Alliance, but what is sepsis and why are we raising awareness about it?

Sepsis is a life-threatening response to an infection in which the body injures its own tissues and organs.  It typically occurs after infections like pneumonia, diarrheal illness or COVID-19 and is the number one cause of death in hospitals.  Sepsis can lead to shock, multi-organ failure and can be fatal.

In fact, worldwide there are around 50 million sepsis cases a year, 11 million of which end in mortality and one in five deaths globally is associated with sepsis.

The good news is, if you know the signs of sepsis, you can act fast to save a life.  The signs of Sepsis are –

S – Slurred speech or confusion

E – Extreme shivering or muscle pain / fever

P – Passing no urine all day

S – Severe breathlessness

I –  It feels like you’re going to die

S – Skin mottled or discoloured.

In 2017 the World Health Assembly approved the Resolution 70.7 urging member states to integrate sepsis in their public health systems.

“This is the second World Sepsis Day that is celebrated during a pandemic that is only increasing exponentially the already heavy toll of sepsis globally… the response to the pandemic by healthcare providers, government and authorities has been unprecedented.  The world must have the same vigorous response regarding sepsis,”, said Niranjan Kissoon, President of the Global Sepsis Alliance.

The tragedy of sepsis affects our society at large. A report published today by The George Institute for Global Health estimates that the total annual cost of sepsis in Australia is $4.8bn with direct hospital costs accounting for $700m a year, more than for breast and lung cancer combined.

For further information, see the Sepsis Fact Sheet.