We know the names of big killers like cancer and heart disease, but few people know sepsis. This is a life-threatening condition and one of the world's biggest killers. It is responsible for one in five deaths worldwide. Sepsis happens when our body releases too many chemicals into the blood to fight an infection. The chemicals overload our organs and damage them. This damage can cause organ failure and death. Doctors have always called this blood poisoning. More than half of the sepsis cases worldwide occur in children. Many of these are newborn babies.
A study into sepsis was published in a medical journal. Researchers said over 50 million people a year develop sepsis. Over 20 per cent of these die. This is more than double the percentage previously thought. Sepsis kills more people than cancer. A senior author of the research, said: "We are alarmed to find sepsis deaths are much higher than previously estimated, especially as the condition is both preventable and treatable." He wants more research to stop sepsis killing newborns. Doctors can treat sepsis with antibiotics if it is found early.