Sepsis and septicemiaExposure to sunlight

Lower rates of sepsis are seen in areas that have more solar ultraviolet-B radiation and in summer when solar ultraviolet-B radiation is stronger.

Epidemiological studies of sepsis in the United States provide plenty of evidence that solar UVB reduces the risk of sepsis. 

Sepsis rates are highest in the northeast and lowest in the west;1 rates are highest in winter/spring and lowest in summer/fall1

African-Americans have higher hospitalization rates for sepsis than White-Americans2 3 4.  African-Americans have lower mean serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels than White-Americans (16 ng/mL vs. 26 ng/mL)5

Those with diseases associated with low serum 25(OH)D levels such as cancer have higher rates of sepsis6.

Page last edited: 03 May 2011


  1. Danai, P. A. Sinha, S. Moss, M. Haber, M. J. Martin, G. S. Seasonal variation in the epidemiology of sepsis. Crit Care Med. 2007 Feb; 35 (2): 410-5.
  2. Dombrovskiy, V. Y. Martin, A. A. Sunderram, J. Paz, H. L. Facing the challenge: decreasing case fatality rates in severe sepsis despite increasing hospitalizations. Crit Care Med. 2005 Nov; 33 (11): 2555-62.
  3. Dombrovskiy, V. Y. Martin, A. A. Sunderram, J. Paz, H. L. Occurrence and outcomes of sepsis: influence of race. Crit Care Med. 2007 Mar; 35 (3): 763-8.
  4. Mayr, F. B. Yende, S. Linde-Zwirble, W. T. Peck-Palmer, O. M. Barnato, A. E. Weissfeld, L. A. Angus, D. C. Infection rate and acute organ dysfunction risk as explanations for racial differences in severe sepsis. JAMA. 2010 Jun 23; 303 (24): 2495-503.
  5. Ginde, A. A. Liu, M. C. Camargo, C. A., Jr. Demographic differences and trends of vitamin D insufficiency in the US population, 1988-2004. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Mar 23; 169 (6): 626-32.
  6. Danai, P. A. Moss, M. Mannino, D. M. Martin, G. S. The epidemiology of sepsis in patients with malignancy. Chest. 2006 Jun; 129 (6): 1432-40.