What is sepsis?

Sepsis is an inflammatory immune response caused by an infection.  It is sometimes called septicaemia or blood poisoning.  In most cases it is caused by a bacterial infection; however, fungal, viral and protozoan infections can also lead to the disease developing.  Sepsis causes your body’s immune system to overact and start to damage the organs and tissues.

Certain people are vulnerable to sepsis, including:

  • babies under one, particularly if they’re born early (premature) or their mother had an infection while pregnant
  • people over 75
  • diabetics
  • those with a weakened immune system, such as those having chemotherapy treatment or who recently had an organ transplant
  • individuals who have recently had surgery or a serious illness
  • women who have just given birth, had a miscarriage or have had an abortion

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