Septicemia is bacteria in the blood (bacteremia) that often occurs with severe infections.
Blood poisoning; Bacteremia with sepsis
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
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:
Septicemia is not common but it is very serious. Diagnosing it early may prevent septicemia from worsening to shock.
Seek immediate care if:
A person has a fever, shaking chills, and looks very ill
Any person who has been ill has changes in mental status
There are signs of bleeding into the skin
Call your health care provider if your child's vaccinations are not up-to-date.
Getting treated for infections can prevent septicemia. The Haemophilus influenza B (HIB) vaccine and S. pneumoniae 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.
Munford RS, Suffredini AF. Sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2009: chap 70.
Orenstein WA, Pickering LK. Immunization practices. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011: chap 165.
Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.