Blacks seem more vulnerable to deadly blood infection

From Bloomberg Businessweek

Black patients are more likely to develop the life-threatening blood infection sepsis and have a greater chance of dying from it than whites, new research suggests.

In severe sepsis, a bacterial or fungal infection overwhelms the body’s immune system, causing a disruption of normal processes in the blood. When this occurs, small blood clots form, blocking blood flow to the organs, which can lead to organ damage, organ failure and death.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh examined hospital discharge data from seven states in 2005 and emergency department visits during a five-year period between 2003-2007 from the National Hospital Ambulatory Care Survey. Of 8.6 million hospitalizations for reasons other than childbirth, they identified more than 2.2 million cases of infections. Of those, nearly 17 percent, or about 380,000, also involved organ dysfunction, a hallmark of severe sepsis.

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