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Septicemia Causes and Treatment

Updated on November 19, 2009

Septicemia can be simply defined as a bacterial infection of the blood (blood poisoning). Many different bacteria may be responsible for the infection, and it is important to identify them by blood tests before antibiotic treatment commences.

The infection usually starts in another part of the body, such as the lungs, tonsils or after childbirth (now very rare), but in some cases the origin of the infection may never be found. The original site of infection must also be treated. Many different bacterial infections have septicemia as a complication. Patients are usually very ill, with a high fever, prostration and generalized aches and pains.

Provided an appropriate antibiotic can be found, most patients can be cured, but often injected antibiotics in a hospital are required. A small number of patients will have an overwhelming infection with resistant bacteria, which leads to death.

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