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Septicemia is bacteria in the blood (bacteremia) that often occurs with severe infections.

Septicemia is a serious, life-threatening infection that gets worse very quickly. It can arise from infections throughout the body, including infections in the lungs, abdomen, and urinary tract.


It may come before or at the same time as infections of the:

·    Bone (osteomyelitis)

·    Central nervous system (meningitis)

·    Heart (endocarditis)

·    Other tissues


Septicemia can begin with:

·    Chills

·    High fever

·    Rapid breathing

·    Rapid heart rate

The person looks very ill.

The symptoms quickly progress to:

·    Confusion or other changes in mental status

·    Red spots on the skin (petechiae and ecchymosis)

·    Shock

There may be decreased or no urine output


Septicemia is a serious condition that requires a hospital stay. You may be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU).

You may be given:

·    Antibiotics to treat the infection

·    Fluids and medicines by IV to maintain the blood pressure

·    Oxygen

·    Plasma or other blood products to correct any clotting problems


Getting treated for infections can prevent septicemia. The Haemophilus influenza B (HIB) vaccine and S. pneumonia vaccine have already reduced the number of septicemia cases in children. Both are recommended childhood immunizations.

In rare cases, people who are in close contact with someone who has septicemia may be prescribed preventive antibiotics.

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