Sepsis is the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals, yet 91 million* adults say they do NOT know the symptoms of sepsis.
Awareness of the term sepsis remains at an all-time high of 65% from 2018. However, there is still a significant lack of understanding about the prevalence, severity, and deadliness of sepsis amongst the public. This is especially true when sepsis is compared to other less common and less deadly conditions, such as stroke.
- While more than one-third of adults are extremely aware of stroke and diabetes, only 14% are extremely aware of sepsis.
- More than three-quarters of adults mistakenly believe that there are more deaths from opioid overdoses than from sepsis annually in the U.S. According to CDC data, fatality from sepsis is six times more common than opioid overdose.
- Only 14% of adults could correctly identify the four symptoms of sepsis listed in the survey and more than one-third of adults say they do not know the symptoms of sepsis at all.
- Despite stroke affecting less than half the number of people diagnosed with sepsis each year, the three stroke symptoms listed in the survey were correctly identified by most adults (57%). That is four times the number of adults who could correctly identify the symptoms of sepsis listed in the survey.
- Awareness levels are impacted by race and income:
- People who identified as non-Hispanic white are more likely to have heard of sepsis than people who identified as either non-Hispanic black or Hispanic.
- People with incomes of $75,000 or higher are more likely to have heard of sepsis than those with incomes less than $50,000.
Conclusion: Sepsis takes a massive human and economic toll each year; despite this, it remains an underrecognized and largely overlooked public health crisis. Part of the solution to this public health crisis is to improve awareness of sepsis as a medical emergency amongst the general public while also increasing recognition of the signs and symptoms of sepsis.
To download the 2019 Sepsis Awareness Survey, click on the box below.
To view past sepsis awareness surveys, please visit our media kit here.
*91 million is calculated using 2010 Census number of adults multiplied by 38% who say that they do not know the symptoms of sepsis.