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October 13, 2010

Racial Differences in Rates of Severe Sepsis

JAMA. 2010;304(14):1556. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1441

To the Editor: The retrospective cohort study by Dr Mayr and colleagues1 found a higher rate of hospitalization for infections among black patients vs white patients in the United States, which contributed to previously observed racial differences in rates of severe sepsis. The difference in rates of invasive pneumococcal disease between black patients and white patients was large, particularly among patients younger than 65 years. The rate of hospitalization for invasive pneumococcal disease was 22 per 100 000 black patients vs 17 per 100 000 white patients. Furthermore, 24% of invasive pneumococcal infections in black patients were diagnosed in patients younger than 65 years, while only 14% of white patients with invasive pneumococcal disease were younger than 65 years.