When was bacterial sepsis first identified?

Updated: Feb 05, 2019
  • Author: Amber Mahmood Bokhari, MBBS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Hippocrates, in the fourth century BCE, used the term sepsis denoting decomposition. Avicenna, in the eleventh century, called diseases causing purulence as blood rot. In the nineteenth century, the term sepsis was widely used to describe severe systemic toxicity. A closely derived term of septicemia was used for bacterial infection in the blood, which has been replaced by the term bacteremia. In the last two centuries, the processes underlying infections have been better studied and elucidated. The role of microorganisms in causing infections and the intricate mechanisms of various intrinsic and extrinsic toxins in damaging body tissues that result in fever and shock has been discovered with painstaking research. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the term endotoxin was devised by Pfeiffer to explain the causative agent in infection with cholera. It was later linked to other gram-negative bacterial pathogenicity. [9]


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