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Durham firm is only location in world to produce sepsis blood culture bottle

Posted March 29

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— Every year, more than 30 million people around the world are diagnosed with sepsis. The disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the U.S. alone and is claiming more children as victims.

More often than not, the disease is deadly, but soon more people could have a fighting chance because of a company located in the Triangle.

Durham is the only location in the world producing a particular blood culture product to supply the growing global demand due to the rise in sepsis and antibiotic-resistant infections.

The firm BioMerieux, at its campus in Durham, makes a blood culture used around the world to save people from sepsis.

The product takes a direct blood specimen from the patient to test for the disease.

“And it actually looks for the growth of the bacteria that might be in their blood in order to give the physician or the treating health care physician the exact knowledge of what the infection is, what the best antibiotic is used to treat,” Dr. Mark Miller, Biomerieux Chief Medical Officer.

Carol Fowler of Durham is a nursing instructor at UNC. She came down with sepsis in November 2016, right after Thanksgiving.

As a nurse, she suspected it was sepsis, and mentioned it to the doctor.

"I had this sense of impending doom," she said.

Gary Black is a sepsis survivor and has written about sepsis awareness.

"You become collateral damage from your own immune system," he said. "It's a mean, nasty, devastating disease. It's unforgiving."

The new production line in Durham is a response to growing demand, as more people suffer from the disease.

"The bottom line is there are millions of people every year around the globe that suffer from sepsis," Miller said.


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