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Invasion of the bloodstream, after surgery or infectious disease, by microorganismstypically gram-negative (seegram stain) bacteriaand the toxins they release. The latter trigger immune responses and widespread coagulation in blood vessels. High fever, chills, weakness, and sweating are followed by a drop in blood pressure. Multiple infections are often present, requiring broad-spectrum antibiotics as well as drainage of foci of infection. Without immediate treatment, septic shock follows, with a mortality rate over 50%. Invasive technology and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals have made septicemia more severe and more common. See alsobacteremia.
Variants of SEPTICEMIA
septicemia or blood poisoning
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on septicemia, visit Britannica.com.