Sepsis Awareness Shows Solid Increase Over Last Year but Still Low in U.S., Sepsis Awareness Month Working for Change

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In a recent poll conducted on behalf of the Sepsis Alliance, more Americans confirmed their knowledge about sepsis – the number three killer in the United States – yet fewer than half of Americans have heard of the deadly disease. Sepsis Awareness Month activities throughout September aim to improve awareness among the general public.

2011 Sepsis Awareness Month

2011 Sepsis Awareness Month

"Despite an increase in awareness of sepsis over last year, the fact that so many people are still unaware underlines the need for more sepsis education."

Sepsis is a toxic response to infection that kills 215,000 Americans each year and disables thousands more, yet most Americans have not heard of it. Today, Sepsis Alliance (SA), the leading patient advocacy group in sepsis awareness, announced the results of a survey commissioned by SA to identify any changes in public awareness of sepsis over the past year. The telephone survey, conducted in June 2011 by Harris Interactive® on behalf of SA, among 1,003 adults revealed that still more than half of Americans (58%) had never heard of "sepsis." Even fewer could actually define it.

"Despite an increase in awareness of sepsis over last year, the fact that so many people are still unaware underlines the need for more sepsis education," said SA founder, Dr. Carl Flatley. As part of SA’s continuing efforts, September has been declared Sepsis Awareness Month: Say Sepsis, Save Lives.

  •      Every year, over 1 million Americans are affected by sepsis. Through September, a “sepsis victim counter” featured on the SA site will count the number of new cases of sepsis that occur throughout the month.
  •     The site will have a dedicated Sepsis Awareness Month page to highlight what SA is doing throughout September. There will be information about sepsis, as well as highlights of Faces of Sepsis stories, stories of real people who have had sepsis.
  •     Social media (Facebook and Twitter) will play a large role in Sepsis Awareness Month. By tweeting sepsis facts and by highlighting sepsis information and stories on Facebook, SA supporters can help spread the word by retweeting and by sharing the Facebook statuses.
  •     Members of the public will be encouraged to vote on a Sepsis Awareness bumper sticker slogan.

“Our supporters are doing a wonderful job of helping us spread the word about sepsis, particularly through social media,” noted Dr. Flatley. “With their help during Sepsis Awareness Month, we will be able to reach even more people.”

If sepsis is suspected and caught early, and it is treated as a medical emergency with antibiotics and fluids, thousands of lives can be saved. The establishment of Sepsis Awareness Month aims to continue increasing awareness among the general public and healthcare professionals across the country.

This survey was conducted by Harris Interactive by telephone within the United States on behalf of Sepsis Alliance between June 8 – 12, 2011 among a nationwide cross section of 1,003 adults (aged 18 and over). For a full methodology, please contact SA President Thomas Heymann.

About Sepsis Alliance
Sepsis Alliance is a nonprofit patient advocacy organization in the U.S. promoting awareness of sepsis. Sepsis Alliance operates by providing information and education to raise awareness of sepsis and its devastating effects, So More Survive. Sepsis Alliance also provides support by giving people affected by sepsis a forum to share information. Sepsis Alliance was founded by Dr. Carl Flatley after the loss of his 23 year-old daughter, Erin, to sepsis. Her death in 2002 spurred Dr. Flatley to start an organization that would promote awareness of sepsis to both medical professionals and patients. Sepsis Alliance is registered as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and is a founding member of the Global Sepsis Alliance. For more information on Sepsis Alliance, please visit


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Scott Carr
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