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Sepsis and Septic Shock on the Rise, Affecting Younger Patients
Date:1/11/2010

DURHAM, N.C., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- bioMerieux, a world leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics, today released its results of a comprehensive survey of emergency department and critical care physicians. The vast majority of these doctors reported that sepsis and septic shock--the result of serious infections--is on the rise in U.S. hospitals, affecting increasingly younger patients. The surveyed doctors attributed the increase to the overuse of antibiotics, which is rendering these once wonder-drugs ineffective.

Sepsis, a usually fatal medical condition caused by the body's response to a severe infection of the blood and/or tissues, affects 5-10 percent of all hospital patients, leading to an increase of about $5 billion in U.S. health-care costs annually.(1) Nearly 300 emergency and critical care doctors were surveyed at two major medical conferences - the American College of Emergency Physicians Annual Conference, held in Boston in October 2009, and the American College of Chest Physicians Annual Meeting, held in San Diego in November 2009.

When asked if they have seen an increasing rate in sepsis in their hospitals during the last decade, the answer was unequivocally "yes." Seventy-six percent of the physicians surveyed said the incidence of sepsis is on the rise. In addition, nearly 60 percent said sepsis is affecting more patients than it did 10 years ago.

Sixty-three percent of doctors surveyed indicated that the No. 1 reason for younger patients becoming septic was an increase in multi-drug-resistant microorganisms, which is caused by the widespread overuse of antibiotics. In a recent study published by Roberts et al, examining the hospital and societal costs of antibiotic-resistant infections (ARIs) at a Chicago hospital, patients who suffered from these infections remained in the hospital between 6.4-12.7 days longer than those who were not infected and had a significantly i
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