It’s the world’s leading cause of death — and it’s not getting the medical attention a new study says it deserves
2020-01-16 from thestar.com
VANCOUVER—A new study has found that sepsis — not heart disease or stroke — is the leading cause of death in the world.
Sepsis is responsible for one in five deaths worldwide and killed 11 million people in 2017 alone, according to one of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Niranjan “Tex” Kissoon, a professor of pediatrics and critical care medicine at the University of British Columbia.
The study, published in medical journal The Lancet and titled “Global, regional, and national sepsis incidence and mortality, 1990–2017: analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study,” found nearly twice as many deaths than previously thought were caused by sepsis.
Sepsis remained under the radar for so long because previous studies only looked at sepsis rates in resource-rich countries, where the survival rate is much higher, said Kissoon, the only Canadian author of the study.
So what is sepsis?
It occurs when the immune system overreacts to an infection and starts attacking the body. Sepsis itself is not contagious, but it is a life-threatening illness triggered by a bacterial, viral or fungal infection.
If left untreated, it can cause organ failure and even death. Sepsis can become severe and turn into septic shock in a matter of hours, making early detection key to survival.
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