Preparedness to prevent,treat Sepsis essential to save lives, COVID-19 pandemic shows

The Global Sepsis Alliance has reminded governments, health authorities, professionals, and all stakeholders that sepsis must be treated as a global health emergency.

It said the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that infectious diseases – whether communicable or not – continue to represent a global threat, and that sepsis prevention and treatment are part of the solution.

The international body said this on the occasion of World Sepsis Day on September 13th.

“The 2020 World Sepsis Day occurs at a time when mankind faces one of the greatest pandemics of recent times. Severe infections with COVID-19 are in fact viral sepsis – which is often not recognized”, says GSA President, Prof. Konrad Reinhart.

“Severely ill COVID-19 patients and those affected by sepsis from other pathogens — such as bacteria, other viruses, fungi, or parasites — are indistinguishable on clinical grounds.”

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In the first six month of the pandemic, there were 17.3 million confirmed COVID-19 infections and 673,833 reported deaths , according to the Coronavirus Resource Centre of the John Hopkins University.

It said the long-terms consequences of sepsis are already well-known. Up to 50% of sepsis survivors suffer long-term physical, cognitive, and phycological sequelae. Critically ill COVID-19 patients have similar long-term effects such as fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of sense of smell, and concentration difficulties and according rehabilitation requirements.

Sepsis is a devastating condition resulting from the dysregulated immune system response to infections, which leads to organ failure and death. Each year sepsis affects close to 50 million people globally of which more than 40% are children under age 5. While the burden is concentrated in low- and middle-income countries, sepsis remains also a leading cause of death in high-income countries. Overall, sepsis causes or contributes to over 11 million death each year. However, the majority of deaths due to sepsis are preventable.

On her part, the Vice-executive director, African Sepsis Alliance (ASA). Board member, Global Sepsis Alliance (GSA) and Coordinator, Sepsis Research Group (SIDOK), Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, AKTH, Kano, Hajiya Halima Salisu Kabara (RN, MPA, PhD, FWACN) said, more needs to be done on advocacy, patient safety issues, and families need to be involved in the fight against Sepsis.

“Decision makers and heads of governments need to be brought on board to develop a National Action Plans for Nigeria as well as other African countries as 85% of people affected live in Low & Middle Income Countries (LMICs)”.

“Sepsis can be seen as a mirror of the quality of healthcare as the rate of Sepsis is a very good indicator of health systems. Despite it’s remarkable incidence, Sepsis is practically unknown to the public.It is an Emergency condition. Prompt recognition of the condition followed by administration of intravenous fluid & antibiotics are key to survival”, she stated.

“Primary aims of treatment are to treat the infection, sustain the vital organs, and prevent a drop in blood pressure, and to implement appropriate infection control and prevention measures for communicable diseases”, Kabara concluded.

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