A potentially life-threatening condition in which there is rapid multiplication of bacteria and in which bacterial toxins are present in the blood. (See also bacteraemia.) Septicaemia usually arises through escape of bacteria from a focus of infection, such as an abscess, and is more likely to occur in people with an immunodeficiency disorder, cancer, or diabetes mellitus; in those who take immunosuppressant drugs; and in drug addicts who inject. Symptoms include a fever, chills, rapid breathing, headache, and clouding of consciousness. The sufferer may go into life-threatening septic shock. Glucose and/or saline are given by intravenous infusion, and antibiotics by injection or infusion. Surgery may be necessary to remove the original infection. If treatment is given before septic shock develops, the outlook is good.


Online Medical Dictionary: Your essential reference to over 5000 medical terms.