Launching Sepsis Stories - a New Feature Exploring the Devastating Consequences of Sepsis on a Personal Level

Worldwide, sepsis strikes between 27 and 30 million people every year, killing 7 to 9 million of them. To put that into perspective, somebody dies from sepsis every 3.5 seconds! As if this mortality rate wasn't high enough already, many survivors suffer from the consequences for the rest of their lives, for example from the loss of limbs, poor memory and concentration, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

And while these numbers are staggering and instantly show why sepsis is often called a "global silent killer", they fail to paint the full picture. Behind every sepsis death is a story. Behind every sepsis death is a mother, a father, a sibling, a friend, or another loved one - a community impacted by sepsis. The same is true for the survivors of sepsis - and no story is alike.

Today, we are incredibly excited to launch our new feature 'Sepsis Stories' - giving survivors of sepsis and those bereaved by sepsis a voice; platform to share their story. We will publish a new story every four to six weeks and share it as a news item, like this one. Additionally, all stories are collected in a central location (see the new menu item at the top) and you can quickly and easily share the link with your friends and loved ones. If you want to share your story, please get in touch.

Marvin Zick
Australia Launches National Action Plan to Stop Sepsis

In March 2018, the Australian Sepsis Network and The George Institute for Global Health launched a national action plan to reduce the number of people loosing their lives to sepsis in Australia each year.

The report ‘Stopping Sepsis’ sets out an action plan to drive improvements in the treatment and recovery of patients with sepsis, focusing on four key recommendations:

  1. Increasing recognition of sepsis through a national awareness campaign targeting all age groups, including vulnerable groups such as children. More than 50 % of sepsis deaths in children occur within 24 hours, so it is essential parents are aware of early symptoms and seek urgent medical care.
  2. Providing more community and peer support for survivors of sepsis and their families. Many are left with horrendous life changing conditions, including amputation and PTSD.
  3. Establishing a nationally recognized clinical standard of care for sepsis detection and treatment, and improving in hospital care by establishing dedicated sepsis teams.
  4. Setting up a national sepsis body to drive and coordinate research, to measure the true incidence of sepsis by improving reporting, and to introduce alert systems in hospitals across Australia to ensure treatment starts as early as possible.

The action plan is backed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society, and the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission, as well as leading health policy professionals and sepsis survivors.

Professor Simon Finfer, head of the Australian Sepsis Network and member of the GSA Executive Board, said that whilst sepsis was often difficult to detect, it can be prevented and treated successfully if diagnosed quickly.

Sepsis kills more Australians each year than breast or prostate cancer, but there’s no public outcry about this, or national campaign to reduce the shockingly high death rate. Sepsis can be prevented and, in many cases, be treated successfully. We need to ensure that patients presenting with symptoms receive the best care possible, and that treatment begins as quickly as possible.
— Professor Simon Finfer

Sepsis is estimated to cost Australia $1.5 billion each year with many cases beginning in the community rather than in hospitals. For those that survive, half are left with a disability or impaired function that also impacts their family and friends.

The national action plan is a call for increased and coordinated efforts to raise awareness of sepsis, improve diagnosis and treatment, and provide greater support for Australians who have experienced sepsis.

The Global Sepsis Alliance congratulates everybody involved in making this huge step towards less deaths and more awareness in Australia and hopes this further serves as a successful example many more countries will follow, as demanded by the WHO Resolution on Sepsis.

Helen Reinke
Apply Now for the Erin’s Campaign for Kids Nursing Awards
International Pediatric Nurse.jpg

Applications for Erin's Campaign for Kids Nursing Awards are now open, including for pediatric nurses living outside the United States.

Sepsis Alliance created Erin’s Campaign for Kids Nursing Awards in honor of Erin Kay Flatley, an aspiring teacher who tragically and suddenly died of sepsis when she was only 23 years old. These awards recognize nurses and nursing students who demonstrate excellence in their work and a commitment to improving outcomes among sepsis patients.

Awards are granted in the following four categories: Pediatric Nurse, International Pediatric Nurse (nurses living outside the United States), Sepsis Coordinator, and Nursing Student.

To qualify for the International Pediatric Nurse award, applicants must be licensed pediatric nurses NOT living in the United States. The selected awardees will receive a $1,000 grant.

Marvin Zick
World Sepsis Day News Now Available on Apple News
WSD News Apple News.png

If you live in the United States, the United Kingdom, or Australia* and use an iPhone or iPad, you are in for a special treat - our World Sepsis Day News are now available on Apple News! That means you can now read our articles and stories right from the comfort of the preinstalled Apple News App on your iPhone or iPad, as well as being notified when new stories are available (if you want, no pressure). Please tap this link from your iPhone or iPad to go directly to our brand new channel. Once you are there, we encourage you to follow our channel by tapping the little heart icon.

Apple News collects all the stories you want to read in one convenient place — so you no longer need to move from app to app to stay informed. And with the For You tab, it’s easier than ever to find the stories that matter most to you. Apple News also features breaking news notifications and subscriptions to some of your favorite publications. Learn more about Apple News.


*Hopefully, Apple News will expand to more countries soon, but for now it is US, UK, and Australia.

Marvin Zick
WHO Technical Expert Meeting on Sepsis

As you probably know, a resolution on improving the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sepsis was adopted at the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017, spearheaded by the Global Sepsis Alliance and its partners.

This resolution requests the WHO to develop guidance for the prevention and management of sepsis, to produce a report on the epidemiology and burden of sepsis, and to support countries to obtain the necessary infrastructure, laboratory capacity, strategies and tools to address sepsis. The WHO is also expected to work with partners to improve access to quality, safe, efficacious, and affordable treatments for sepsis and tools for infection prevention and control (IPC), including immunization, particularly in developing countries.

In January 2018, experts on sepsis, associated stakeholders and professionals, including several representatives of the Global Sepsis Alliance and the African Sepsis Alliance, participated in a WHO-organized technical expert meeting to discuss sepsis-related issues.

Overall, the meeting aimed to provide support and input for the implementation of the resolution. Its main objectives were to share an overview of current major initiatives on sepsis worldwide, to present WHO activities and plans, to discuss global needs and priorities for action, to gather input on the critical role of WHO and key areas of work, and to explore areas for collaboration between WHO and other key players with the common goal of furthering global efforts on sepsis.

Marvin Zick
World Hand Hygiene Day Is This Saturday, May 5th - It's in Your Hands - Prevent Sepsis in Health Care

This Saturday, on May 5th, 2018, healthcare facilities, health workers, the World Health Organization, and countless committed partners all around the world celebrate World Hand Hygiene Day, drawing attention to why hand hygiene is so crucially important. This year, the slogan is "It's in your hands - prevent sepsis in healthcare".

Please join us in celebrating World Hand Hygiene Day and preventing sepsis in healthcare this Saturday! To do so, you can participate in our very own Clean Hands Challenge, download and use the WHO's advocacy toolkit, or simply share the information on World Hand Hygiene Day within your network, for example on social media. Material is available in many different languages on the WHO Campaign website. 

Although 80 % of sepsis cases are contracted outside of a hospital (see video below), hand hygiene plays a huge role in the prevention of infections, which can quickly lead to sepsis.

Therefore, the WHO urges you to focus on the fight against sepsis in the context of hand hygiene and infection prevention in health care.

Sepsis is estimated to affect more than 30 million patients every year worldwide, and global rates of sepsis are thought to be growing rapidly. At the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017, Member States adopted a resolution on improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.

The WHO Calls to action are: 

  • Health workers: “Take 5 Moments to clean your hands to prevent sepsis in health care."
  • IPC leaders: “Be a champion in promoting hand hygiene to prevent sepsis in health care.”
  • Health facility leaders: "Prevent sepsis in health care, make hand hygiene a quality indicator in your hospital.”
  • Ministries of health: "Implement the 2017 WHA sepsis resolution. Make hand hygiene a national marker of health care quality."
  • Patient advocacy groups: "Ask for 5 Moments of clean hands to prevent sepsis in health care."

We encourage you and your organization to support World Hand Hygiene Day and prevent sepsis in health care!

Marvin Zick
Can You Spot the Early Warning Signs of Sepsis?
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The majority of the British public struggle to identify all of the early warning signs of sepsis, according to a national survey by Manchester-based law firm JMW.

Three-quarters (75%) of the 1,057 people questioned by clinical negligence experts JMW said they either didn’t know or were unsure of what the signs of sepsis are. When asked to select the early warning signs from a list, just half (50%) knew that mottled or discoloured skin was a sign, 39% knew about extreme shivering, 35% identified muscle pain as a symptom, and 34% knew that confusion was a signal for sepsis.

Respondents also struggled to correctly identify the remaining symptoms, with just 27% knowing that extreme breathlessness was a sign, 21% knowing that not urinating for at least one day can be a symptom, and only 17% recognising that slurred speech can indicate sepsis.

Eddie Jones, partner and head of clinical negligence at JMW, said: “Following the results of the survey we are concerned about the low numbers of the general public in the UK who could correctly spot the early warning signs of sepsis.

“Any delay in diagnosis can cause increasingly dangerous and long-lasting effects to the afflicted person, and so it is imperative to raise awareness of sepsis and how to identify the symptoms. This could help to ensure early medical intervention for thousands of patients who would otherwise have died or been seriously injured.”


Spotting the Early Warning Signs in Children


Survey respondents were also asked to identify the warning signs of sepsis in children, who exhibit slightly different symptoms than adults. Participants correctly identified fever (51%), having mottled, bluish or pale skin (47%), being lethargic or difficult to wake up (45%), and breathing fast (34%) as signs of sepsis in children.

Only 26% knew that convulsions were a symptom, 23% knew that a rash that doesn’t fade when pressed was a sign, 22% correctly identified a fever, 20% knew that feeling unusually cool to the touch could indicate the condition, and 14% knew that a very low temperature was a symptom.

JMW has partnered with the UK Sepsis Trust to raise awareness by sponsoring the inclusion of a sepsis awareness leaflet in the Bounty Newborn Pack that is given to all new parents of babies delivered in an NHS hospital.

Eddie said: “From our work with the UK Sepsis Trust, we know that raising public awareness of the illness is an ongoing and important mission. To help, we have produced a downloadable poster and an online video animation to give parents, guardians, and other child carers the information they need.”

Melissa Mead, national projector co-ordinator at the UK Sepsis Trust, says: “Sepsis is a terrifying, quick, and deadly condition - not knowing the signs and symptoms could mean the difference between life and death. The results of this survey highlights how much more work there is to be done on raising awareness of sepsis amongst the public.”

In the UK, around 44,000 people lose their life to sepsis every year.


Marvin Zick
April 24th is World Meningitis Day - All Meningitis Matters!
World Meningitis Day

World Meningitis Day raises the global profile of meningitis and shares potentially life-saving information with thousands of people worldwide. This year's theme, #AllMeningitisMatters, raises awareness of the 4 different types of meningitis; bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic. It also highlights that multiple vaccines are needed to protect against meningitis because of the variety of bacteria and viruses that can cause it. 
Meningitis, of course, is a common source of sepsis.

Marvin Zick