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Septicaemia

What is septicaemia?

Septicaemia (or 'blood poisoning') is a serious blood infection caused by bacteria.  

Septicaemia is a medical emergency that can be fatal if not treated quickly. If you suspect you or someone you know has septicaemia, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

What causes septicaemia?

Septicaemia can start with any bacterial infection. That infection can be in the bladder, or in the chest, or even on the skin. But the infection gets worse and spreads through the blood. The body's immune reaction can make things worse, not better, and it can cause a sudden, untreatable drop in blood pressure called septic shock.

Septicaemia symptoms

The symptoms of septicaemia can vary. They include:

If it gets worse, symptoms can include:

Septicaemia diagnosis

The doctor will examine the person with septicaemia and organise a variety of tests on the blood and urine. A person with septicaemia would also need X-rays and perhaps other scans.

Complications of septicaemia

Bacteria in blood can infect other organs to cause inflammation of the:

  • lining of the brain (meningitis)
  • abdomen (peritonitis)
  • inner layer of the heart (endocarditis)
  • joints (septic arthritis).

Septicaemia can result in septic shock. It is a serious illness and can be fatal.

Septicaemia treatment

Immediate treatment is important.

A person with septicaemia will need to be treated in hospital. There, they will get antibiotics and intravenous fluids.

Last reviewed: September 2015

Need more information?

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Meningococcal septicaemia (Meningococcemia, Meningococcal bacteremia) | myVMC

Meningococcal septicaemia is an acute (sudden onset) infection of the bloodstream and subsequent vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) with the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis

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Aspen Fisamox | myVMC

Amoxil can be used to treat a range of conditions including: Infections in the blood (septicaemia) Chest infections Urinary infections Gonorrhoea (a sexually transmitted infection) Skin infections For the prevention of infection in individuals with certain heart conditions, such as artificial heart valves

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Moxacin Injection | myVMC

Amoxil can be used to treat a range of conditions including: -Infections in the blood (septicaemia) -Chest infections -Urinary infections -Gonorrhoea (a sexually transmitted infection) -Skin infections -For the prevention of infection in individuals with certain heart conditions, such as artificial heart valves

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Vancocin CP | myVMC

Vancocin is an antibiotic used to treat staphylococcal and other bacterial infections, including pneumonia and septicaemia. It contains vancomycin.

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Amikin | myVMC

Amikin is used to treat severe infections like septicaemia. It contains minocycline hydrochloride, a semisynthetic aminoglycoside antibiotic.

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Amikacin Injection (DBL) | myVMC

Amikacin Injection is an antibiotic medicine containing a semisynthetic aminoglycoside agent. It is used to treat septicaemia and other serious infections.

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Tobramycin Injection BP (DBL) | myVMC

Tobramycin Injection is used to treat severe infections, including meningitis and septicaemia and neonatal sepsis. It is an antibiotic.

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Nebcin | myVMC

Nebcin contains tobramycin sulfate, a bactericidal antibiotic. It is used to treat severe infections including septicaemia and meningitis.

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Neutropaenic sepsis | myVMC

Neutropaenic sepsis is a systemic infection that occurs in the setting of decreased blood neutrophils (granulocytes)

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Sepsis - Lab Tests Online AU

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