While any type of infection can lead to sepsis, the most likely varieties include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Abdominal infection
  • Kidney infection
  • Bloodstream infection (bacteremia)

The incidence of sepsis appears to be increasing in the United States. The causes of this increase may include:

  • Aging population. Americans are living longer, which is swelling the ranks of the highest risk age group — people older than 65.
  • Drug-resistant bacteria. Many types of bacteria can resist the effects of antibiotics that once killed them. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria are often the root cause of the infections that trigger sepsis.
  • Weakened immune systems. More Americans are living with weakened immune systems, caused by HIV, cancer treatments or transplant drugs.
  • Medical advances. People are having more — and more complicated — medical treatments, devices and surgeries.
Jan. 26, 2013

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