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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 [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.

Return to Sepsis

See what others are saying

Comment from: Jenniferliz, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 28

I got sepsis when I scratched a bug bite that was on my foot.

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Comment from: bign, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 12

An oral surgery turned infectious and caused my sepsis. I went on the antibiotic Augmentin for 20 days and it wiped all bacteria from my gut the bad ones grew back faster.

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Comment from: deebird61, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: October 14

My 24 year old son died from sepsis. He had been on the ventilator due to muscular dystrophy. Soon after he was admitted, he no longer could have anything in his stomach. He was also on the gastronomy tube. That was the weirdest week for us. But now I know why. He knew he was dying and the disease took control. I miss him ever so much. I'm about ready to go under the same procedure he went under that may have caused his sepsis, so it does worry me.

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