Perspective in the New England Journal of Medicine: Recognizing Sepsis as a Global Health Priority — A WHO Resolution

Today, the New England Journal of Medicine published our perspective about the resolution on improving the prevention, diagnosis, and management of sepsis by the World Health Assembly (WHA), the WHO’s decision-making body. 

Innumerable patients around the world have died prematurely or faced long-term disability. This toll of unnecessary suffering drove Germany, with the unanimous support of the WHO Executive Board and at the urging of the Global Sepsis Alliance, to propose the resolution adopted by the WHA. The resolution urges member states and the WHO Director-General to take specific actions to reduce the burden of sepsis through improved prevention, diagnosis, and management.

To read the full article, please click here.

Marvin Zick
2nd Photographic Exhibition: Sepsis: Face to Face

For the second year in a row, the Hospital Juárez de México will host the photographic exhibition "Sepsis: Face to Face". We encourage you, your colleagues, and your organization to participate to send a strong signal in the global fight against sepsis. 

The topics of this years photo exhibition are sepsis, hand hygiene, vaccination, and antimicrobial resistance. 

Participation is as easy as taking a picture of you and sending it to before August 1st, 2017. 

Please send the photo in electronic form (* .tif, * .tiff, * .gif, * .jpg or equivalent) in the highest resolution possible, preferably 300 PPI. The file must be accompanied by :

  • Title of the photo
  • Short description of the photograph (< 750 words)
  • You should answer one of the following questions:
    • How do I fight against sepsis?
    • How did I survive sepsis?
    • What is sepsis for you?
    • I had sepsis now what?
    • I lost a family member or friend because of sepsis ...
  • Author's name
  • Place and date
  • Camera type (optional)
  • Photographic technique (optional)
  • Letter of copyright (will be requested in accepted cases)

The authors of the photos accepted for exhibition will be notified by email in August 2017 and will be featured on the website of the "Sepsis Mexico Foundation and on Twitter and Facebook. You can find pictures from last years exhibition here.

All images that contain information that can identify patients or staff must be accompanied by a document that approves the use of the image by those involved in the exhibition and subsequent events. The committee of the photographic exhibition "Sepsis: Face to Face" will carry out the assembly of the exhibition.

For foreign participants, proof of participation will be issued, honorable mention will be given at the discretion of the jury to the best photo (or series). The winners will be announced at the closing of the symposium.
The Photographic Exhibition Committee thanks you for your participation in raising awareness about sepsis.
For more information, please email the Committee Photographic Exhibition directly.

Photo Exhibition 'Sepsis: Face to Face', 2016

Photo Exhibition 'Sepsis: Face to Face', 2016

Marvin Zick
High Mortality Due to Sepsis in Native Hawaiians and African Americans: The Multiethnic Cohort

A new study of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center analyzed sepsis mortality and its predictors by ethnicity in the Multiethnic Cohort (MEC). Among 191,561 white, African American, Native Hawaiian, Japanese American, and Latino cohort members, 49,347 deaths due to all causes and 345 deaths due to sepsis were recorded during follow-up from 1993-96 until 2010. 

Age-adjusted rates of sepsis death were 5-times higher for Hawaii than Los Angeles. By ethnicity, Native Hawaiians had the highest rate in Hawaii and African Americans in Los Angeles. African Americans showed the highest risk followed by Native Hawaiians as compared to whites. 

The finding that African Americans and Native Hawaiians experience a higher mortality risk due to sepsis than other ethnic groups suggest ethnicity-related biological factors in the predisposition of cancer patients and other immune-compromising conditions to develop sepsis, but regional differences in health care access and death coding may also be important.

The findings from the current analysis indicate certain predispositions of cancer patients for sepsis with minority backgrounds and highlight the importance of paying special attention to these patients. A higher infection rate in non-whites and a higher likelihood to develop organ dysfunction has been documented, but differences in clinical care as shown for African Americans may also be responsible for the higher sepsis mortality. Identification of ethnicity-related genetic factors to the incidence and prognosis of sepsis may aid in developing more complete sepsis prevention, rapid early detection, and effective treatment approaches.

To read the full study, please click here.

Marvin Zick
Winners of the Global Sepsis Awards 2017
GSA Awards

Every year, the GSA rewards outstanding efforts in the fight against sepsis with the 'Global Sepsis Awards'.
These outstanding efforts include excellent sepsis awareness and education initiatives, as well as recognize major achievements of governments, organizations and individuals, consistent with the aims of the World Sepsis Declaration and World Sepsis Day Movement. An award jury comprised of internationally recognized experts in patient safety and sepsis management evaluated all award submissions and identified award recipients. The Global Sepsis Awards are sponsored by the Erin Kay Flatley Memorial Foundation.

The awards will be presented to the winners in a ceremony in the context of international or national critical care meetings, such as the International Sepsis Forum (ISF) in Paris.


Our congratulations to the winners in 2017:

Category II: Non-governmental organizations, patient advocate groups or healthcare provider groups

Sepsisdialog University Hospital of Greifswald, Germany

Sepsisdialog University Hospital of Greifswald, Germany

Sepsisdialog, under the leadership of Matthias Gründling, has achieved the following milestones in the the framework of the SepNet Study Group:

  • Decreased sepsis mortality at the University Hospital Greifswald well below the German average, as well as compared to other German academic medical centers
  • Successful outreach with educational efforts on sepsis recognition and implementation quality improvement initiatives in their region
  • Initiated and supported regional and national studies on the epidemiology of sepsis
  • Participated in important clinical effectiveness research of the SepNet Study Group 
Kamal Osman Mirghani from the Sudanese Sepsis Alliance

Kamal Osman Mirghani from the Sudanese Sepsis Alliance

The jury was impressed on what the Sudanese Sepsis Alliance has achieved so far:

  • Increasing Awareness for Sepsis on the local, regional and national level and celebrating World Sepsis Day in Sudan
  • Involving nurses, doctors and medical students in educational efforts
  • Implementing evidence based guidelines for the prevention and management of sepsis
  • Championing the Sudan Sepsis Alliance and promoting the creation of the African Sepsis Alliance


Category III: Individuals

Adam Linder, Sweden

Adam Linder, Sweden

The jury decided to award Adam Linder from Sweden; they were very impressed on what he and his colleagues have achieved in Sweden in only a few years:

  • Founding the Swedish Sepsis Society and organizing national sepsis meetings
  • Performing important polls on the knowledge about sepsis in Sweden
  • Conducting and publishing pertinent studies on the epidemiology of Sepsis that suggest that the burden of sepsis may still be underestimated
  • Involving patients and families in their work
  • Reaching out to high profile media representatives, showing an incredible commitment and passion for improving the quality of sepsis care by creating sepsis awareness and sensitizing health care professionals in his hospital and region

Jelena Slijepčević, Croatia

Jelena Slijepčević, Croatia

As member of the Croatian Nurses Society of Anesthesiology, Reanimatology, Intensive Care and Transfusion Jelena Slijepčević has launched the campaign „Stop Sepsis“ in Croatia in 2014. In her capacity as president of the campaign, she achieved to roll out this initiative on the national level. The focus is to achieve a better understanding of sepsis by lay people and health care workers, especially to foster the knowledge that early recognition of sepsis is crucial and that sepsis is an emergency like heart attack and stroke. 

She and her colleagues over the years continuously increased the outreach of their campaign not only by celebrating World Sepsis Day on September 13th every year but also by organizing meetings with physicians and nurses, as well as by involving policy makers in their activities. Finally, they published on sepsis in appropriate journals and had an impressive press coverage on their activities and the burden of sepsis in the media.


The winners of the GSA Awards in category I will be announced at a later date.

Marvin Zick
Statement on Sepsis-3 Now Published in Journal of Critical Care

The members of the Quality Improvement Committee of the Global Sepsis Alliance have composed a statement regarding the operationalization of the proposed diagnostic criteria for the Sepsis-3 definition in March 2017.

We are happy to announce that said statement has now been officially published in the Journal of Critical Care.

The committee is supportive of the updated definition and wish for it to be implemented in such a way that the practice of early recognition and treatment, which has been shown to be effective in reducing sepsis associated mortality, can be balanced by identifying the patients at risk and minimizing overtreatment.

Recently published articles assessing qSOFA, in particular, use the terms ‘diagnostic’ and ‘prognostic’ interchangeably in describing its potential applicability in clinical practice. Our concern is to bring clarity to the available published data and for the safe and appropriate use of the new definition and its proposed diagnostic criteria. In particular, that the clinical context in which the criteria are tested is made very clear so that a prudent assessment of the generalizability of the information can be made and the possibility of harm avoided.

Marvin Zick
Participate in the Sepsis CamPetition
SepsisCamPetition_PM_img (002).jpg

We invite you to participate in the Sepsis CamPetition 2017, which will culminate with a presentation of all videos and an award for the winners on World Sepsis Day in Jena, Germany.
The theme of the contest is, of course, sepsis. We invite everyone who wants to contribute to sepsis awareness and improve early detection and treatment, whether you are a doctor, student, school class, communicators, video makers, YouTubers, etc, to join. The videos can deal with the all aspects of sepsis: medical background, scientific facts and current research, social aspects, symptoms, prevention, personal experiences - it is left to your creativity. Everything is possible, as long as the relation to sepsis is clear.
There are no limits on how the themes are implemented, either;  animation or real film, cellphone camera or camcorder, black and white or color, documentation or fiction, music videos - the charm lies in the multitude of possibilities. The only restriction is that they must be compatible with YouTube, since that is where the films will be uploaded and presented.
The three best videos, the best video created by people under 20,  and the audience prize from the online voting will be awarded.

For more info and registration please click here.

Marvin Zick
WHA Adopts Resolution on Sepsis

On Friday, May 26th, 2017, the World Health Assembly and the World Health Organization made sepsis a global health priority, by adopting a resolution to improve, prevent, diagnose, and manage sepsis. This marks a quantum leap in the global fight against sepsis.

Sepsis, commonly referred to as ‘blood poisoning’, is the life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection results in organ dysfunction or failure.  Sepsis is often confused with other conditions in its early stages, with delayed recognition of the signs and symptoms quickly leading to multi-system organ failure and ultimately death.

The resolution urges the 194 United Nation Member States to implement appropriate measures to reduce the human and health economic burden of sepsis. In the USA alone, sepsis causes or contributes to half of all deaths in hospitals and has become the leading cause of annual hospitals costs, at over 24 billion USD per year.

The resolution also requests the Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, to draw attention to the public health impact of sepsis and to 1) publish a report on sepsis and its global consequences by the end of 2018, 2) support the Member States adequately, 3) collaborate with other UN organizations, and 4) report to the 2020 WHA on the implementation of this resolution.

“Community-acquired and health care-acquired sepsis represent a huge global burden that has been estimated to be 31 million cases every year, six million of which result in death,” said Dr. Chan. “One in ten patients world-wide acquires one health care associated infection which often manifests itself with sepsis conditions. I commend the member states for the content of the resolution on sepsis which point to key actions that need to be taken to reverse these shocking statistics.”

The WHO has allocated $4.6 million USD to help implement their sepsis resolution.

The adoption of sepsis as a global priority was initiated by the Global Sepsis Alliance who gathered the consensus and authority of clinicians and families from over 70 countries. 

“Worldwide, sepsis is one of the most common deadly diseases, and it is one of the few conditions to strike with equal ferocity in resource-poor areas and in the developed world,” said Dr. Konrad Reinhart, Chairman of the Global Sepsis Alliance.  “In the developed world, sepsis is dramatically increasing by an annual rate of 5-13 per cent over the last decade, and now claims more lives than bowel and breast cancer combined.  When sepsis is quickly recognized and treated, lives are saved but health care providers need better training because they are the critical link to preventing, recognizing, and treating sepsis.”

Full Press Release - for immediate release.
Read and download the full resolution.

Marvin Zick
Video Recap of the 'WHA Side Event on Sepsis' Now Available

The 'WHA Side Event on Sepsis' was hosted by the Global Sepsis Alliance, the International Alliance of Patient's Organizations IAPO, and the German Federal Ministry of Health and took place on Wednesday, May 24th, 2017.

Speakers included high-ranking policy makers, government officials, WHO representatives, patient advocates, sepsis experts, and sepsis survivors. You can download the full program here (PDF, 1 MB).

We also used this 'WHA Side Event on Sepsis' to award the Rory Staunton Foundation for Sepsis Prevention with the Global Sepsis Award for their vital achievements in the fight against sepsis, including the adoption of 'Rory's Regulations' in New York State, which have saved well beyond 5,000 people up to today. Congratulations!

The video recording of the event is freely accessible on our World Sepsis Day YouTube Channel and embedded above.

Marvin Zick