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Disparities and Risk Factors for Septicemia Deaths

Open Forum Infect Dis; ePub 2018 Nov 15; Kempker, et al

The strongest mediators of a nearly 2-fold black-white disparity in septicemia deaths in US adults were across domains of socioeconomic status, a recent study found. The longitudinal study included adult participants in the 1999-2005 National Health Interview Survey with data linked to the 1999-2011 National Death Index. Researchers utilized National Vital Statistics System’s ICD-10 schema to define septicemia deaths, utilizing influenza and pneumonia deaths and other causes of death as descriptive comparators. They found:

  • Of 206,691 participants, 1,523 experienced a septicemia death.
  • Major risk factors associated with > 2-fold larger hazard of septicemia death included: self-reported poor and fair general health; lower education, lower poverty-index ratio; self-reported emphysema, liver condition, stroke, and weak or failing kidneys; > 1 pack per day cigarette use; and higher utilization of healthcare.
  • Blacks had age- and sex-adjusted hazards that were higher for septicemia deaths (HR 1.92) than for other causes of death (HR 1.32).
  • The strongest mediators of the septicemia disparity included self-reported general health condition, family income-poverty ratio, and highest education level achieved.


Kempker JA, Kramer MR, Waller LA, Martin GS. Risk factors for septicemia deaths and disparities in a longitudinal US cohort. [Published online ahead of print November 15, 2018]. Open Forum Infect Dis. doi:10.1093/ofid/ofy305.