1 out of 18 Deaths in Canada Due to Sepsis

January 22, 2016

Statistics Canada reports that 1 out of 18 deaths in the country are related to sepsis.

San Diego, California – January 22, 2016 – One out of every 18 deaths in Canada in 2011 was caused by sepsis, according to a report issued on January 21 by Statistics Canada. Given that there is an average of 250,000 deaths per year in the country, this amounts to nearly 14,000 deaths due to sepsis. This is first time sepsis was officially included in an official report as an underlying or contributing cause of death in Canada.

Sepsis, the body’s toxic response to infection, can be triggered by any type of infection, which can then lead to serious complications, such as multiple organ failure and death. Many survivors are left with lasting psychological and/or physical effects, or post-sepsis syndrome. However, when caught in its earliest stages, sepsis can often be effectively treated.

The mortality rate in Canada from sepsis increased by 4.1% annually from 2000 to 2004, and then by 10.6% annually from 20014 to 2007. The increase was not due to sepsis specifically causing more deaths, the report said, but that sepsis was now officially entered as a contributing cause of death, allowing for higher numbers to be registered.

Infections can be individual (not passed on by another person), such as a urinary tract infection (UTI), spread from person to person, as with influenza, or through contamination, such as with e. coli or listeria. More men than women died from sepsis (32 men per 100,000) than women (24 women per 100,000), but while male survival rate is improving, the rate of women developing sepsis is staying the same.

Sepsis is not always preventable, but recognition of sepsis signs and symptoms can help save lives. The symptoms include:

  • Shivering (fever) or feeling very cold
  • Extreme pain or discomfort (feeling the “worst ever”)
  • Pale or discolored skin
  • Sleepy, difficult to wake or rouse
  • I feel like I might die.”
  • Short of breath

Sepsis can quickly develop into severe sepsis, followed by septic shock if left untreated. For information on the illnesses and conditions commonly related to sepsis, visit Sepsis.org’s Sepsis And… page.



Study: Deaths involving sepsis in Canada, 2000 to 2011

Deaths, estimates, by province and territory