CDC declares sepsis a medical emergency, encourages awareness

It’s time for physicians and medical workers to be more aware of possible sepsis infections, according to the CDC. The organization declared the condition a medical emergency in an information packet released Aug. 23.

The new designation came as the CDC realized 72 percent of people who end up with this kind of infection have recently been seen by a healthcare professional who could have noticed and taken measures to stop the infection. And that’s a lot of lives that could be saved just through stricter vigilance: About 258,000 people die from such infections in the U.S. every year.  

The infection can be contracted in the hospital or in the community, and its signs might be hard to catch because it can move so quickly with symptoms such as high fever that can resemble other infections.

The CDC report encouraged healthcare administrators to make infection control a priority and included information for doctors: Be aware of the possibility of sepsis infection, stay on top of antibiotic administration and administer appropriate vaccinations to prevent infection. It also outlined the type of people most likely to be affected (the very young and old) and where it most commonly strikes (lung, urinary tract, skin and gut).

According to the Washington Post, the University of Kansas Medical Center was able to halve its sepsis infection mortality rate to 7 percent in 11 years through increased awareness of symptoms.

Check out the Washington Post to see just why the infection can be so deadly and what doctors do to quickly recognize and begin to treat it.