Experts say that sepsis is a global medical emergency, killing more than 10,000 worldwide every single day -- a figure that World Sepsis Day on Sept. 13, 2012 aims to tackle.
Sepsis causes more deaths per year than prostate cancer, breast cancer and HIV/AIDS combined. It is one of the most common, least-recognized acute illnesses in both the developed and developing world, yet many people remain unaware of its shocking toll on global health.
Dr. Konrad Reinhart, chairman of the Global Sepsis Alliance, comments, “The statistics associated with sepsis have dramatic implications for global efforts to eliminate disease. Sepsis is a medical emergency and requires a worldwide effort to educate and engage both the general public and political powers, to take steps required to tackle its growing number of victims.”
Prevalence has increased dramatically over the last decade, increasing in the developed world by 8 percent to 13 percent annually. Aging populations and the increased use of high-risk interventions, alongside the development of drug resistance and more virulent varieties of pathogens, contribute to sepsis being the primary cause of death from infection despite advances in modern medicine, including vaccines, antibiotics, and acute care.
In an attempt to forestall further increase and take appropriate steps to reverse the recent increases in death from sepsis, the global sepsis community has issued a call for worldwide action.
The launch of World Sepsis Day aims to nurture a global decrease in incidence and adverse outcome, working to educate and engage both the general public and political powers in the steps required to achieve this.
Through strategies for early recognition and treatment, many more sepsis patients will be diagnosed and interventions delivered before severe organ dysfunction develops.
Dr. Ron Daniels, chairman of the UK Sepsis Group and Executive Director of Global Sepsis Alliance, notes, “Rapid initiation of simple, timely interventions can halve the risk of dying. Early sepsis treatment is cost effective and reduces hospital and critical care bed days for patients. Unfortunately, sepsis is still mostly overlooked and recognized too late.”
A patient with sepsis is around five times more likely to die than a patient who has suffered a heart attack or stroke, yet the recognition of sepsis and interventions delivered are haphazard with fewer than one in five patients receiving care according to international guidelines.
Recognition of this global medical emergency is required to improve the economic, medical and emotional burden of sepsis; however, it is needed on a world-wide scale, experts say.