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septicemia




A term formerly accepted by the medical profession to mean the rapid multiplication of bacteria and the presence of bacterial toxins in the blood; the corresponding layman's term was "blood-poisoning." However, it has fallen from favor because of its inconsistent use and potential for confusion. For example, "septicemia" was sometimes used, incorrectly, as a synonym for "bacteremia," which properly means the mere presence of bacteria in the bloodstream. Doctors now prefer to draw a clear distinction, in their terminology, between conditions such as bacteremia, viermia, and fungemia, which denote the presence of bacteria, viruses, and fungal particles in the blood, and the illnesses that may result from the body's immune response to these microbes, notably sepsis.


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   • HEALTH AND DISEASE