Every year 40 000 Swedes suffer from sepsis, with mortality rates as high as 20 percent. Even though the disease is almost as common as cancer, few Swedes have ever heard of it.
Adam Linder, a researcher in internal medicine at the University of Lund, has been awarded the prestigious Global Sepsis Award 2017 by the Global Sepsis Alliance for his efforts sepsis research. Linder will receive his award on World Sepsis Day, held on 13 September 2017, which this year is sponsored by Bactiguard.
Linder founded The Swedish Sepsis Trust (Sepsisfonden), a non-profit working to raise awareness about sepsis alongside communications specialist Ulrika Knutsson. The trust works together with the Global Sepsis Alliance, the German Sepsis Society, and The UK Sepsis Trust.
“I had an eye-opening experience a few years ago when I did a study on the awareness of sepsis in Sweden which showed that only one in five Swedes had heard of sepsis, nearly 90 percent of Swedes had heard of diseases like leukemia or Parkinson’s but few knew anything about sepsis,” says Linder
In Sweden, only one in three hospitals have clear guidelines on how to handle sepsis patients in the emergency room, whereas many hospitals know how to handle suspected stroke or heart attack patients, according to Linder. In addition to raising awareness and educational efforts, Linder and his colleagues have discovered that a protein in the blood, heparin binding protein (HBP), is elevated in almost 80 to 90 percent of sepsis patients. A blood test developed by a diagnostic company can decrease the response time between diagnosis and treatment for sepsis. Quality-assured test kits to be available in Sweden as early as this fall.
Sepsis and antibiotic resistance
Sweden will see an increase in sepsis cases in the future because it is strongly associated with antibiotic resistance. The less effective antibiotics are in killing harmful bacteria, the higher the risk of sepsis. The spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria also means a higher volume of cases in addition to higher mortality due to the lack of effective treatments.
Bactiguard’s vision aligns with those of Linder and The Swedish Sepsis Trust: to decrease the prevalence of healthcare-associated infections and reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance, which will ultimately decrease the occurrence of sepsis and save lives.
During Almedalen Week on July 6, 2017 The Swedish Sepsis Trust and Bactiguard will be holding a joint seminar to raise the public awareness about sepsis. For more information about the time and location of the event please click here.