Sepsis is the most common pathway to death following
an infection. It can be avoided.
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Prof. Sir Liam Donaldson, WHO Envoy for Patient Safety
“Patient safety must never be taken for granted: the next challenge is always just around the corner.
Sepsis remains a major challenge to healthcare, and is one of our biggest causes of unchecked deterioration and avoidable patient harm.
The statistics concerning the number of patients affected by sepsis and the numbers of lives claimed are frightening."
Dr. Tom Frieden, Director Center for Disease Control, USA
“Sepsis can be devastating to patients and their families. Even survivors of sepsis can suffer life-long impacts of their illness. While we need to increase awareness and early detection of sepsis to protect patients and save lives, we also need to understand the causes of sepsis so that we can prevent it whenever possible.”
Reinhold Messner, Extrem Mountaineer and Author
“I support World Sepsis Day because I want to help further the prevention and early detection of life-threatening infections in children and adults around the world.”
Prof. Johanna Wanka, Federal Minister of Education and Research (BMBF)
“Twenty million people worldwide contract sepsis every year, more than 150,000 in Germany alone. Many survivors suffer a lifetime from the consequences. We therefore need to improve sepsis prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. For this reason, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has been involved for many years in projects and initiatives focusing on sepsis research and the development of effective therapies.”
Prof. Dr. Helge Braun, Minister of State to the Chancellor
„In Germany, too, sepsis is one of the most common causes of death and numbers of fatalities are on the rise. If all the relevant parties act consistently, much will be achievable, even in the short term. I therefore call for a national and international campaign focusing on preventive measures and on improving medical training to enable staff to diagnose sepsis earlier and treat it more effectively. Advances in the fight against AIDS show what can be achieved if there is investment in research and the education of lay people.“
Prof. Lothar L. Wieler, President Robert Koch Institute
"Sepsis is the most threatening complication of an infection. Even today, it often takes a lethal course. World Sepsis Day draws attention to the high number of sepsis cases and deaths and also to possible ways of fighting sepsis. Better knowledge, especially among physicians, can help to faster recognize and treat sepsis. Treatment of sepsis is particularly affected by the increase of antimicrobial resistances. Interdisciplinary collaboration is necessary to face this problem and to improve prevention, early recognition and therapy of sepsis."
Prof. Reinhard Burger, Past-President Robert Koch-Insitut, Germany
“150 years after Semmelweis, nosocomial infections represent the most common infections in industrialized nations. Effective treatment of sepsis is difficult, and is affected increasingly by the problem of antibiotic resistance. In addition to evidence-based recommendations for the prevention of sepsis, prepared in Germany by the KRINKO at the RKI, early detection and improvement in therapy is important, ...”
Prof. Didier Pittet, Director, Infection Control Programme WHO
“Even in the 21st century, sepsis remains a formidable challenge, both in developing and developed countries. But sepsis can be prevented. One of the simpler measures is to encourage healthcare workers to comply with hand hygiene recommendations, notably the “My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene” now used worldwide and promoted through the WHO Multimodal Hand Hygiene Promotion Strategy...”
WHO First Global Patient Safety Challenge “Clean Care is Safer Care”
Prof. Jörg Hacker, President, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Germany
“The fight against sepsis is a challenge that indispensably calls for the worldwide cooperation of scientists, physicians, and healthcare workers. As a microbiologist, I am sure that the World Sepsis Day helps to make our knowledge about sepsis widely available to all who are needed to win that fight.”
Ray Schachter, Chairman of the GSA World Health Day Taskforce
“I miraculously survived acute sepsis in 1996 due to extensive medical intervention and have experienced the immediate and long-term consequences on me and my family. I am the chair of the GSA Task Force whose goal is to have the UN mandate sepsis as a World Health Day. Working with these very accomplished and committed people from GSA, many of whom are on the GSA Executive or Ambassadors, on this important project is a very special opportunity.”
Carl J. Flatley, DDS, MSD
“As a leading cause of death in the US, I am dedicated to get the word out to the public and health care givers / facilities throughout the States. Amazingly, only 4 out of 10 Americans has heard the word sepsis.
When you see estimates of 10's of millions dying worldwide annually, the unknown number of disabilities / amputations, and suffering for survivors, all of us globally need to be united behind the GSA and the WSD events to " speak in one voice" ...”
Nancy C. Caralla,
Foundress, President and Executive Director of the
C Diff Foundation
"Having been diagnosed with Clostridium difficile (C. Diff) twice, surviving a sepsis in 2010, and having lost my father due to a septic shock after a C. Diff. infection, I realized sepsis and C Diff are more closely connected then most can imagine and both drastically underrepresented in terms of worldwide awareness. That is why I founded the C Diff Foundation based in Florida and am closely working with the WSD Movement."
Hartwig Gauder, Olympic Champion
“I was dependent on an artificial heart while waiting for a heart transplant. During that time I developed sepsis. Surviving the disease was like getting a second lease on life. Today I'm a patron of the German Sepsis Aid Organization and the German Sepsis Society, and I fully support World Sepsis Day.”
Prof. Dieter Bitter-Suermann, Past-President, MFT, Germany
“From birth to death, sepsis is one of the most severe life-threatening diseases known in any field of medicine. Broad-based prevention (hygiene) measures, early recognition of seemingly harmless symptoms, and immediate administration of fast-acting antibiotic therapies save lives. That’s why the medical faculties, with their mandate of training future doctors and providing ongoing education for specialists, have a special responsibility to support …”
Prof. Ernst Rietschel, Past-President of the Leibniz Association, Germany
“Many people who suffer from sepsis die quickly. That is why sepsis remains mostly unnoticed by media, politics, and society. Awareness of sepsis among health professionals and the general public is essential to increase sepsis survival rates, reverse the rise in sepsis incidents, and generate support among scientists and policymakers. I am proud to serve as an ambassador for the “Stop sepsis save lives” campaign, which culminates in the World Sepsis Day on 13 September. ...”
Past-President of the Leibniz Association (2005-2010), Germany
Prof. Karl Heinz Rahn, President AWMF, Germany
“Sepsis is a life-threatening disease that affects many people worldwide. Even in the developed countries the incidence of sepsis is rising dramatically. Sepsis has not only an enormous relevance for public health care systems but also for research and education. Therefore, AWMF, the working group of all scientific medical societies in Germany, supports World Sepsis Day and wishes it to become a great success.”
Prof. Peter M. Suter, Former President, Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, Switzerland
“This important day must increase awareness of the public for a dangerous disease, and help to support research to find better treatments and improve outcome in these patients.”
Klaus von Dohnanyi, Former Minister of State, Germany
“I support the World Sepsis Day and the targets of the World Sepsis Declaration because I have learned that apparently even physicians and health care workers know by far too little about sepsis. But everybody knows sepsis is not only a highly dangerous, but unfortunately also a rather common disease. Sepsis can be controlled, but only if understood and very early diagnosed. Thus sepsis education must get a top priority if health care providers in all parts of the world shall be enabled to treat sepsis successfully.”
Dr. Melissa Parker, McMaster University, Canada
“You have the power to make a difference for someone with sepsis. Whether you are a medical student, a nurse, a respiratory therapist, a parent, or a consultant speak up! Also listen. Respect vital signs. Make it your personal goal to find the needle in the haystack as soon as possible and then act. Lives count on it.”
Daniel Bahr, Former Federal Minister of Health, Germany
“Sepsis presents a medical and scientific challenge worldwide. It is the third most frequent cause of death in Germany. In the joint effort to combat sepsis, appropriate prevention strategies are just as important as the early detection and treatment of the disease. The World Sepsis Day informs and, in doing so, makes a valuable contribution to the fight against sepsis.”
Prof. Annette Schavan, Former Federal Minister of Education and Research, Germany
“Sepsis causes many deaths. One in two patients who develop sepsis die as a result. We know too little about the causes and consequences of sepsis. This has to change. We must create structures that enable the world’s best scientists to work on fighting sepsis. My aim is to support the early detection of sepsis, treat it effectively, and prevent long-term consequences. World Sepsis Day makes an important contribution to raising awareness of this life-threatening condition.”
Christian Schenk, Olympic Decathlon Champion
“I support the World Sepsis Day because too many children and adults die from sepsis and I want to support those who care about better prevention and therapy of sepsis.”
Former German track athlete (Olympic champion in the decathlon in 1988 South Korea), Patron of German Alliance Against Depressions, Project Manager of “Sporthilfe Elite-Forum” at Castle Liebenberg, Germany
Uwe-Jens Mey, Olympic Champion
“When my father died, sadly this taught me what sepsis may lead to. Therefore, I support the World Sepsis Day and all efforts to eliminate sepsis as life-threatening danger to mankind.”
Between 1988 and 1992, Uwe-Jens Mey was the world's top 500 m skater. He captured the Olympic title in the distance in both 1988 and 1992, the former representing East Germany, the latter competing for the reunited Germany. In the years in between he also won the 500 m World Cup three times (1989-1991), in addition to three 1000 m World Cups (1988-1990).
Ilke Wyludda, Olympic Discus Champion
“I support the World Sepsis Day because as a patient and physician I know that sepsis can strike people out of the blue. Unfortunately, very few people know enough about this deadly disease. Medical students, young doctors and nurses need better education about prevention, early recognition and treatment of sepsis. The World Sepsis Day can help to make a change for the better in the next years.”
Olympic Games discus champion (1996, Atlanta) who also won at the 1990 and 1994 European Athletics Championships
Klaus Wolfermann, Olympic Champion
“I support the World Sepsis Day because many lives could be saved if lay people, politicians, physicians and health care workers would know more about sepsis.”
Former German javelin thrower and Olympic champion (1972 Munich)
Jozef Sabovcik, Olympic Bronze Medalist
“Sepsis affects all ages, from newborns to children to older adults. Recently my family experienced the devastating effects of sepsis. My father-in-law, who is diabetic, developed a small sore on the bottom of his foot. Within days he became septic and spent time in the intensive care unit. Doctors had to amputate his leg to save his life. Sepsis affects everyone, and my mission is to spread the word about sepsis. Understanding the signs and symptoms of sepsis and seeking treatment early can save lives.”
Olympic Bronze medalist (“Jumpin' Joe”)
Prof. Terence Seemungal, The University of The West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago
“Sepsis is the major reversible contributor to subsequent multiple organ dysfunction commonly involving acute injury to lung, kidneys and heart. Pulmonary sepsis is the third leading cause of death worldwide. Even though there has been no major advance in sepsis therapeutics, there has been a fall in short-term sepsis mortality. However this has not translated into any benefit in long term sepsis mortality. We need greater awareness and closer links between civil society and governmental organizations worldwide to win this fight.”
Over the past year we've been collecting the questions we receive most frequently about sepsis. Please share this information with your friends and family. Don’t see your question on the list? Get in touch with us, and we’ll do our best to help.
If you, a relative, or a patient feels "severely sick", "that something is wrong", or "are not yourself", and shows any of the following symptoms, you should suspect sepsis:
How to prevent sepsis
Sepsis is always caused by an infection, most often by bacteria, but sometimes by fungi or protozoa (such as malaria). That means that preventing infection is one of the best ways to prevent sepsis.
Pat*, athelete, survived sepsis at the age of 32
My illness started on 20 May 2004. I felt great that day, but in the evening suddenly developed a fever and chills.
Life after Sepsis: an international survey
After surviving an acute phase of sepsis, a patient may continue to struggle with a long list of serious symptoms. The extent of these complications varies…