Being poor or having a pre-existing health condition increases the risk of sepsis, researchers said.
A history of widespread antibiotic exposure or learning disabilities also increases the risk for individuals.
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition where the body overreacts to an infection and begins attacking its own tissues and organs.
The latest research, led by a team from the University of Manchester, examined NHS data on 224,000 sepsis cases in England between January 2019 and June 2022.
It was found that people from the poorest communities were 80% more likely to develop sepsis than their counterparts in wealthier areas. The risk for people with learning difficulties was also much higher.
The same applies to victims of chronic liver and kidney diseases. Higher risks were observed in relation to cancer, diabetes, smoking and weight problems.
Professor Tjeerd van Staa, co-author of the research, said: “This research underscores the urgent need for sepsis risk prediction models to take into account chronic disease status, deprivation status, learning difficulties, as well as infection severity.”
There is an urgent need to improve sepsis prevention, including more precisely targeting antimicrobials to patients most at risk.
In adults, sepsis may look like the flu, gastroenteritis, or chest infection at first. Early symptoms include fever, chills, shivering, rapid heartbeat, and rapid breathing.
The Manchester study was published in the journal eClinicalMedicine.
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