Ignorance about sepsis can kill. Start of information campaign

Berlin/Neuruppin, 11 August 2021

The innovation fund project “SepWiss” started with an information campaign today. The motto: “Sepsis is preventable. Ignorance about sepsis can kill!” A media conference presented the campaign online and on site (Langenbeck-Virchow-Haus, Luisenstraße 58/59, 10117 Berlin) from 11 a.m. The project targets risk groups in Berlin and Brandenburg. Supporters are the Brandenburg Medical School (MHB), the Sepsis Foundation, the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the University Hospital Jena, the Robert Koch Institute and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. The idea is to spread knowledge about early symptoms and prevention of sepsis and thus reduce the number of deaths associated with sepsis.

Experts call it a “secret killer”: colloquially referred to as blood poisoning, sepsis is the most serious complication of infections which costs at least 75,000 lives in Germany and 11 million worldwide every year. Many survivors suffer long-term effects like fatigue, neurocognitive impairments, or even loss of limbs.

Prof. Dr. Konrad Reinhart chairs the Sepsis Foundation and is heading the project. He pointed out that sepsis is still largely unknown, despite the fact it occurs more frequently than all cases of breast, prostate and colon cancer taken together, and the risk of sepsis is higher than that of a stroke or heart attack: “Our project SepWiss aims to improve the early detection and prevention of sepsis. Major prevention strategies are vaccination against influenza, e.g., pneumococci or COVID-19, others are compliance with general rules of hygiene and consistent treatment of infections. It is most important to recognize early symptoms in good time and seek prompt medical attention. In most cases this helps to prevent fatal outcomes and serious long-term effects.”

Sepsis occurs if the body’s immune system cannot prevent the spread of an initially local infection. The resulting excessive immune response damages the body organs. According to Prof. Dr. Axel Radlach Pries, dean of the Charité, his institution pursues the promising research strategy to partially block this overreaction of the immune response and thus to prevent the harmful consequences. The groups particularly at risk are persons over 60, people with pre-existing medical conditions of lung, kidneys or heart, with immunodeficiencies or diabetes, but also preterm and newborn babies.

Changes in vaccination rates and knowledge about early symptoms in the model region will be analysed after the campaign. Over the past months, the project partners have developed evidence-based information material aimed specifically at risk patients and also at health service providers. This includes flyers, posters and online formats of further education, to be distributed via multipliers such as clinics, doctors’ surgeries, pharmacies and the media. Prof. Edmund Neugebauer (MHB president and project partner) expects noticeable differences in attainability and implementation between a metropolis like Berlin and a rural region. The Federal Joint Committee Innovation Fund supports the project with approximately 2.2 million Euro.

You can download or order all information material related to the project from this Website. Telephone consultation and support is also available.

Contact and interview requests:
Anne Volkmann
Kommunikations- und Projektmanagement
Hindenburgdamm 27
12203 Berlin
T:+49 151 553 009 48