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WHO Data

In 2017, during the 70th World Health Assembly, the WHO set the goal of improving the prevention, diagnosis and clinical management of sepsis around the world. A global report on the epidemiology and burden of sepsis was released in 2020, aimed at drawing attention to this widely unknown disease.

Pediatric and neonatal sepsis

Among the 49 million cases of sepsis observed in 2017 globally, 20 million occurred in children below the age of 5 years. Newborns are particularly at risk with mortality reaching 15% , with a greater burden affecting premature and low birth-weight infants.

Maternal sepsis

Maternal sepsis is a severe infectious complication occurring during pregnancy, labor, abortion or post-partum. Obstetrical infections are the third cause of maternal death (about 10%). Most of them occur in low- or middle-income countries.

Hospital-acquired sepsis

Hospital-acquired sepsis accounts for 1 case of sepsis out of 4. Hospital-acquired sepsis results from an infection acquired during the process of care. Hospital-acquired sepsis leads to longer hospital stays and increased antimicrobial resistance.

Insufficient data and regional and economic disparities

Global epidemiologic data on sepsis are sparse, especially in low- or middle-income countries where mortality due to sepsis is the highest. 85% of cases of sepsis and 84.8% of deaths due to sepsis occur in countries with low, low-middle or middle sociodemographic index, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia (2017).

Prospects for improvement

Sepsis morbi-mortality depends on the quality of care including diagnosis and management, health infrastructures, and prevention measures in place. The WHO conveyed recommendations towards its state members. These recommendations include:
  • Infection prevention and control (vaccination, quick access to care, early diagnosis),
  • Improvement of sanitary conditions (access to drinkable water, sanitation),
  • Combat antimicrobial resistance,
  • Raise people's awareness (general public, healthcare providers),
  • Promote research (national priority, epidemiology, funding).