- Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow
- Take the Tummy Trouble Quiz
- Hepatitis C Slideshow Pictures
- Patient Comments: Sepsis - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Sepsis - Experience
- Patient Comments: Sepsis - Causes
- Patient Comments: Sepsis - Treatment
- Sepsis (blood poisoning) facts
- What is blood poisoning?
- What is sepsis?
- What are the stages of sepsis?
- Why are there so many diseases with "sepsis," "septic," "septicemia," or "blood poisoning" in their name?
- What causes sepsis?
- Is sepsis contagious? How long is the incubation and/or contagious period for sepsis?
- What are the risk factors for sepsis?
- What are sepsis (blood poisoning) symptoms and signs?
- How do health care professionals diagnose sepsis?
- What is the treatment for sepsis?
- What types of health care professionals specialize in the treatment of sepsis?
- What is the prognosis with sepsis?
- What are the complications of sepsis?
- Is it possible to prevent sepsis (blood poisoning)?
- What are some additional sources for information on sepsis (blood poisoning)?
Quick GuideWhat Is a Staph Infection? Symptoms, Pictures
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 systemic inflammatory response syndrome. The infectious agents, usually bacteria, begin infecting almost any organ location or implanted device (for example, skin, lung [pneumonia], gastrointestinal tract [bacterial penetration or ruptured intestine from trauma], 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. 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). Other bacteria also causing sepsis are S. aureus, Streptococcus species, Enterococcus species and Neisseria; however, there are large numbers of bacterial genera that have been known to cause sepsis. Candida species are some of the most frequent fungi that cause sepsis.
Is sepsis contagious? How long is the incubation and/or contagious period for sepsis?
In general, a person with sepsis can be contagious (for infectious causes like bacteria and fungi, for example), depending on the aggressiveness of the infecting organism, so precautions such as hand washing, sterile gloves, masks, and clothing coverage should be considered depending on the patient's infection source. However, most researchers suggest sepsis itself is not contagious but is a condition that can develop after one of many types of infectious agents invade the bloodstream. An incubation and/or contagious period cannot be assigned to sepsis itself; the particular organisms that may lead to the development of sepsis have their own individual incubation and contagious periods that vary depending on the organism.