Sepsis - Causes

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What causes sepsis?

The majority of cases of sepsis are due to bacterial infections, some are due to fungal infections, and very few are due to other causes of infection or agents that may cause SIRS. The infectious agents, usually bacteria, begin infecting almost any organ location or implanted device (for example, skin, lung, gastrointestinal tract, surgical site, intravenous catheter, etc.). The infecting agents or their toxins (or both) then spread directly or indirectly into the bloodstream. This allows them to spread to almost any other organ system. SIRS criteria result as the body tries to counteract the damage done by these blood-borne agents.

Common bacterial causes of sepsis are gram-negative bacilli (for example, E. coli, P. aeruginosa, E. corrodens and Haemophilus influenzae in neonates), S. aureus, Streptococcus species and Enterococcus species; however, there are a large number of bacterial genera that have been known to cause sepsis. Candida species are some of the most frequent fungi that cause sepsis. In general, a person with sepsis can be contagious, so precautions such as hand washing, sterile gloves, masks, and clothing coverage should be considered depending on the patient's infection source.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: dottie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 25

I had a denture implant in 2008, and it got infected. Part of my implant fell out and I was hooked up to antibiotics for 8 hours in the emergency room, with sepsis.

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Comment from: Margaux, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 01

While hospitalized for chemotherapy I developed sepsis (Klebsiella pneumoniae, E. coli, Enterococcus faecalis) due to central line contamination resulting from shockingly poor hygiene standards on the part of the nursing staff.

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