Ebola? Deal With Death From Sepsis

Sepsis, commonly called "blood poisoning" is a condition where body's entire system goes into inflammation for a local infection

Sept. 14, 2014, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 08 No. -7 September. 12- 2014 (Bhadra 27, 2071)

We have heard about Ebola virus rapidly spreading currently in Western African countries, killing almost 1900 people by the 3rd of September 2014. But, what we often do not realize is that virus infection leads to death from Sepsis. Sepsis leads to multiple organ failure resulting in 70-90% deaths. Similarly, death quoted as being due to pneumonia, meningitis, ruptured intestine, stone in renal pelvis, and more leads to Sepsis before death.

Sepsis, commonly called "blood poisoning" is a condition where body's entire system goes into inflammation for a local infection. Early symptoms include cough, pneumonia, abdominal pain, persistent fever, shortness of breath, fatigue and dizziness.  A group of people are more at risk, although Sepsis can happen to anybody. People at risk are those who have diabetic condition, had undergone chemotherapy in the past, have been taking immunosuppressant drugs. Others are premature children, children below the age of five, people above the age of 65, and people having no spleen.

Sepsis related deaths are rising worldwide: Even in the developed countries, it is growing by 7-8%. While no reliable data exist for poor countries, Sepsis related deaths are a major cause of mortality. According to an estimate, above 60% death under the age of five in poor countries are due to Sepsis. In maternity, "after-bleeding" is the major cause of becoming Sepsis. Hospital-acquired infections lead to Sepsis in more than 50% cases, especially in poor countries.

Prevention is the best strategy to deal with Sepsis. It can effectively reduce mortality by 10-15%. Preventive measures include improved hygiene, healthy living, and preventing oneself from infections. Vaccine against pneumococci is also available for people at risk. Early detection of symptoms can save lives. The most important fact is to raise awareness about Sepsis not just among common people but also among health workers, especially those working in emergency wards of hospitals and urgent care centers.

In Nepal, Organization for Sepsis Children of Nepal (OSCN), a non-governmental organization registered with the local authority, is in operation since 2012. OSCN has its own website, OSCN.org.np.

World Sepsis Day, being celebrated on 13 September 2014, intends to bring more awareness about Sepsis. The health institutions and professionals of  more than 90 countries are participating to celebrate this Day. More details on this can be found in world-sepsis-day.org.

Dr. Uday R. Sharma

Dr. Uday R. Sharma

Dr. Sharma is the Advisor to OSCN

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