One in five deaths around the world is caused by sepsis, also known as blood poisoning, shows the most comprehensive analysis of the condition.
The report estimates 11 million people a year are dying from sepsis - more than are killed by cancer. The researchers at the University of Washington said the "alarming" figures were double previous estimates. Most cases were in poor and middle income countries, but even wealthier nations are dealing with sepsis.
There has been a big push within the health service to identify the signs of sepsis more quickly and to begin treatment. The challenge is to get better at identifying patients with sepsis in order to treat them before it is too late. Early treatment with antibiotics or anti-virals to clear an infection can make a massive difference.
Prof Mohsen Naghavi said: "We are alarmed to find sepsis deaths are much higher than previously estimated, especially as the condition is both preventable and treatable. We need renewed focus on sepsis prevention among newborns and on tackling antimicrobial resistance, an important driver of the condition."
Source: BBC News, 17 January 2020