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Cases of sepsis on the rise in Highlands


By Staff Reporter


THE number of cases of sepsis have almost doubled in the Highlands in the past three years, Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart has revealed.

Mr Stewart, the Labour Party’s public health spokesman, discovered the hike in numbers through a Freedom of Information request to NHS Highland after a constituent raised a concern.

The health authority said that in 2017, 464 cases were reported, in 2018, it was 596 and 2019 there were 878 cases.

Anyone can get sepsis, but babies under one, people over 75, people with diabetes, those with a weakened immune system, patients who have recently undergone surgery and women who have just given birth or had a miscarriage or abortion are particularly susceptible.

“These figures are quite staggering for our region, although I am aware that the way sepsis was recorded changed in late 2017, but it is still eye-opening to see this increase,” said Mr Stewart.”

Mr Stewart said symptoms include blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue; a rash that doesn’t fade when you roll a glass over it, the same as meningitis; difficulty breathing, confusion or slurred speech and in children, a weak, abnormal, high-pitched cry, sleepiness or not showing interest.

NHS Highland said: “There has also been a large effort across NHS Scotland to increase clinical recognition and recording of sepsis and this heightened awareness may also have contributed to the increase recorded.”

It said other factors may also be an ageing population.

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