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Everyone knows the names big killers cancer, heart disease and stroke, but few people are aware one of the biggest killers - sepsis. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition. Doctors say it is responsible one in five deaths worldwide. Sepsis happens when our body's response to an infection injures our own organs. Our body normally releases chemicals the blood to fight an infection. Sepsis occurs when the body releases too many these chemicals. The chemicals overload our organs and damage them. This damage can lead to organ failure and death. Doctors have traditionally called this blood poisoning. More than half the sepsis cases reported worldwide occur children, many whom are newborn babies.

A study sepsis was published January the 16th the medical journal "The Lancet". Researchers estimated that 50 million people a year develop sepsis and over 20 per cent die the illness. This is more than double the percentage previously estimated. The researchers said sepsis kills more people than cancer. Professor Mohsen Naghavi, a senior author 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 said more research is needed to stop sepsis killing newborns. Doctors can treat sepsis antibiotics if the condition is found early.

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