Do death certificates accurately record deaths due to bloodstream infection?

Christopher S Heather, Hong Foo and Iain B Gosbell
Med J Aust 2014; 201 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/mja14.00694
Published online: 3 November 2014

To the Editor: Sepsis and bloodstream infection (BSI) are associated with significant morbidity and mortality although they are amenable to targeted intervention in the hospital setting. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported 1463 deaths due to septicaemia in Australia in 20121 — a number that is likely an underestimate.2

  • 1 Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Sydney South West Pathology Service, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 Ingham Institute, Sydney, NSW.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Causes of death, Australia, 2012. Table 1.1: Underlying cause of death, all causes, Australia, 2012. (ABS Cat. No. 3303.0.) (accessed Aug 2014).
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  • 3. Neate SL, Bugeja LC, Jelinek GA, et al. Non-reporting of reportable deaths to the coroner: when in doubt, report. Med J Aust 2013; 199: 402-405. <MJA full text>
  • 4. Cordner SM. Doctors, death certificates and reporting to coroners — room for improvement [editorial]. Med J Aust 2013; 199: 379-380. <MJA full text>
  • 5. Thulstrup AM, Sørensen HT, Schønheyder HC, et al. Population-based study of the risk and short-term prognosis for bacteremia in patients with liver cirrhosis. Clin Infect Dis 2000; 31: 1357-1361.
  • 6. Paul M, Kariv G, Goldberg E, et al. Importance of appropriate empirical antibiotic therapy for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia. J Antimicrob Chemother 2010; 65: 2658-2665.
  • 7. Myers KA, Farquhar DR. Improving the accuracy of death certification. CMAJ 1998; 158: 1317-1323.


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