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Home / About/ What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a life-threatening illness that is caused by the body’s overreaction to an infection already present in the body. This infection can be bacterial, viral, parasitic, or fungal. Normally an individual’s immune system fights the infection, but in sepsis, the body triggers a response throughout the body causing extreme inflammation and blood clotting, even in previously health organs.

Examples of infections that commonly lead to sepsis

• Pneumonia
• Stomach infections
• Viruses like COVID-19 and influenza
• Parasites like malaria

To learn more about the signs and symptoms of sepsis, please visit sepsisawareness.ca.

Do all infections lead to sepsis?

Not all infections result in sepsis. When an infection does cause sepsis it can develop quickly, leading to shock, organs (e.g., hearts, lungs, kidneys) shutting down and death within hours. The risk of dying of sepsis increases by as much as 8% every hour treatment is delayed.

Is sepsis contagious?

Sepsis is not contagious (spread from one person to another). However, you can spread several infections to people. Most cases of sepsis start outside of the hospital setting but can also be acquired in a hospital.