At least 12,000 people were treated for sepsis in hospitals in Ireland last year, with one in five of those dying from the life-threatening condition.
However, the HSE said the total number of cases is likely to be much higher.
Marking World Sepsis Day, it said the condition kills more people each year than heart attacks, stroke or almost any cancer.
The illness usually starts as a simple infection which leads to an “abnormal immune response” that can “overwhelm the patient and impair or destroy the function of any of the organs in the body”.
Dr Michael O’Dwyer, the HSE’s sepsis clinical lead, said: “The most effective way to reduce deaths from sepsis is by prevention.
“A healthy lifestyle with moderate exercise, good personal hygiene, good sanitation, breastfeeding when possible, avoiding unnecessary antibiotics and being vaccinated for preventable infections all play a role in preventing sepsis.
“Early recognition and then seeking prompt treatment is key to survival. Recognising sepsis is notoriously difficult and the condition can progress rapidly over hours or sometimes evolve slowly over days.”
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Source: Independent Ireland, 13 September 2022
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