Sepsis Fact Sheet

About Sepsis Alliance

Dr. Carl Flatley

Erin’s Campaign for Kids

Dr. James M. O’Brien

Sepsis Awareness Month

Sepsis Heroes

Last year marked the 5th presentation of our Annual Sepsis Heroes Gala, which was held on Thursday, September 15th, and raised over $200,000. Every year, the event is held during Sepsis Awareness Month to honor people and organizations that have made a significant contribution to sepsis awareness and education among both the general public and healthcare professionals. Those that have been recognized range from honorees such as Emergency Responder and educator Rom Duckworth (2015), awareness event organizers Jeff & Helene Zehnder (2014), and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo (2013), to the Surviving Sepsis Campaign (2013) and North Shore-LIJ Health System (2012).

The event takes place during Sepsis Awareness Month, when Sepsis Alliance and its supporters increase efforts to make sepsis more widely known among the general population. In addition, healthcare facilities across the country use the opportunity to provide additional education to their employees about sepsis, as well as the infections that cause it.

In 2010, Sepsis Alliance and Harris Interactive conducted a poll to get a better understanding of how many people in the United States could define the word “sepsis.” Results showed that the majority of Americans had never heard the word and of those who had heard it, many did not know what it meant. Sepsis Alliance Survey Reveals Over 60% of Americans Don’t Know Sepsis.

Repeat polls have been done each year and, while progress had been made, it is slow:

2011: Sepsis Awareness Shows Solid Increase Over Last Year but Still Low in U.S.;

2012: Sepsis Survey Reveals Majority Americans, Especially Those Under 35, Have Never Heard of One of Deadliest Killers in America;

2013: Fewer Than Half of American Adults Have Heard of Sepsis, One of the Deadliest Killers in the U.S., New Sepsis Alliance Survey Reveals). Will there be an increase in awareness in the 2014 survey?

2014: New Survey Shows Most Americans Have Never Heard of Sepsis, Despite Sepsis Being Most Costly Hospital Condition in the U.S.

2015: Americans More Aware Of Many Rare Diseases Than Sepsis, According to New Sepsis Alliance Survey

2016: Fifty-Five Percent of Americans Have Heard of Sepsis – Nation’s Third Leading Killer – Sepsis Alliance Survey Reveals

Sepsis can occur from common events, such as surgerythe flu (see Jen Ludwin’s story), and urinary tract infections (see JoniRose Filip’s story). A look at the Faces of Sepsis section shows you that sepsis can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex, or ethnicity. There are over 400 stories and counting.

Watch our video, Sepsis: Emergency, to see the devastation sepsis leaves in its wake. View our short film, Faces of Sepsis to see who sepsis affects. The Sepsis Fact Sheet is a quick reference sheet for those who are interested in learning more about sepsis and for more information, please contact Sepsis Alliance at