Sepsis Epidemiology in Australian and New Zealand Children

Sepsis affects 25.2 million children per year and causes 3.4 million deaths, with an annual cost of hospitalisation in the United States (US) of $7.3 billion. Despite being common, severe, and expensive, therapies and outcomes from sepsis have not significantly changed in the last 20 years. Variable case-definition, lack of a gold standard for diagnosis, and broad spectrum of disease hamper efforts to evaluate therapies that may improve sepsis outcomes. This landscape analysis of community acquired childhood sepsis in Australia and New Zealand will characterise the burden of disease, including incidence, severity, outcomes, and cost. Additional aims are to prospectively evaluate existing and novel sepsis diagnostic criteria and risk stratification tools in the emergency department (ED) setting, ascertain sepsis therapies including antimicrobial use, quality of care including guideline adherence, evaluate parental awareness and understanding of sepsis, and explore parent-reported outcome measures. Understanding these aspects of sepsis care are fundamental for future knowledge generation and translation initiatives to improve childhood sepsis outcomes.

Ethics approval was received from the Royal Children’s Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC/69948/RCHM-2021). The study was registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry on 15 July 2021 prior to commencement of recruitment (ACTRN12621000920897).

Study design

Multicentre prospective observational

Chief Investigators

Chief Investigators Australia and New Zealand
Elliot Long (Royal Children’s Hospital)
Franz Babl (Royal Children’s Hospital; Murdoch Children’s Research Institute; Centre for Integrated Critical Care, University of Melbourne)
Ed Oakley (Royal Children’s Hospital)
Stuart Dalziel (Starship Children’s Hospital, Auckland)
Meredith Borland (Perth Children’s Hospital)

Chief Investigators USA
Scott Weiss (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)
Fran Balamuth (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)
Nate Kuppermann (UC Davis Children’s Hospital)




Medical Research Futures Fund (ANZ)

Site locations

Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne – lead hospital (CPI Elliot Long)
Perth Children’s Hospital, Perth (PI Meredith Borland)
Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide (PI Amit Kochar)
Monash Children’s Hospital, Melbourne (PI Simon Craig)
Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney (PI Shefali Jani)
Sydney Children’s Hospital, Sydney (PI Arjun Rao)
Gold Coast University Hospital, Gold Coast (PI Shane George)
Queensland Children’s Hospital, Brisbane (PI Natalie Phillips)
The Royal Darwin Hospital, Darwin (PI Anna Lithgow)
Starship Children’s Hospital, Auckland (PI Stuart Dalziel)
Kidz First Hospital, Auckland (PI Eunicia Tan)


PREDICT: 5500, children aged 0 – <18yrs