Sepsis is a life-threatening medical condition characterized by a syndrome of systemic inflammation caused by the body's response to infection. There are several common sources of infection, which include the lungs, urinary tract, and skin. Infections may also occur in or around specific organs such as the brain, intestines, kidneys, gallbladder or pancreas. It is the body's response to this infection that starts a cascade of acute inflammation. This is seen clinically by high respiratory rate, elevated heart rate, abnormal (high or low) body temperature, and abnormal (high or low) white blood cell count. The Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, also known as SIRS, can be diagnosed when two of these signs are present. SIRS can also be related to other noninfectious conditions such as trauma, burns and pancreatitis. When SIRS is caused by infection it is called sepsis. Most commonly the type of infection is bacterial, but sepsis can also be caused by viral and fungal infections. If a patient has sepsis and then develops organ dysfunction (i.e., kidney or respiratory failure) or low blood pressure, the patient is then diagnosed with severe sepsis. If organ failure or low blood pressure persists despite adequate fluid resuscitation, this is called septic shock. The mortality rate of severe sepsis and septic shock is frequently quoted as anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent.