Campaign emphasizes sepsis awareness during COVID-19, especially in communities of color

The Massachusetts Sepsis Consortium is conducting a statewide social media campaign this month to boost awareness of sepsis symptoms, especially in communities of color. This follows the release of a new national survey about sepsis awareness that shows marked differences among racial and ethnic groups.

Among 2,000 adults surveyed in early June, 71% had heard of sepsis, up from 65% in 2019. Demographic details reveal disparities: 76% of white, 63% of Hispanic and 49% of Black people have heard the term “sepsis.” When it comes to identifying symptoms, responses are more uniform — all rate poorly — and only 34% of respondents overall identified sepsis as a complication of COVID-19. Data show that communities of color experience disproportionate levels of both sepsis and coronavirus.

The annual survey has been sponsored since 2012 by the Sepsis Alliance, a non-profit organization, and released in September to coincide with Sepsis Awareness Month.

The Massachusetts Sepsis Consortium – 25+ health care providers, payers, researchers, patients, state agencies, and policymakers, led by the Betsy Lehman Center – is working to lower sepsis morbidity and mortality across the state. In addition to resources to help Emergency Departments and post-acute and long term care facilities readily diagnose sepsis, the Consortium supports a public-facing website.

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