Blood poisoning after insect bite


In technical terminology, blood poisoning is called sepsis. Sepsis can occur after an insect bite and is diagnosed on the basis of various parameters such as symptoms, blood values or pathogen detection. In colloquial language, the so-called lymphangitis is also often referred to as blood poisoning.

This is an inflammation of the lymph vessels, which can occur after an insect bite, among other things. As a consequence of the lymphangitis a real blood poisoning, i.e. sepsis, can develop, which is a life-threatening situation. In the case of blood poisoning after an insect bite, immediate action is required, as organ failure and thus death can occur.

The causes

Blood poisoning (sepsis) results from the entry of pathogens or their toxins (poisons) into the organism. Due to various mechanisms, such as a disturbed immune system or a very aggressive pathogen, the pathogens or toxins can be washed out into the entire bloodstream. This leads to a massive defence reaction throughout the body, which is accompanied by inflammatory processes, lack of oxygen in organs and circulatory disorders.

This can lead to organ damage and ultimately death. Insect bites can lead to blood poisoning due to various factors. Through the transmission of pathogens such as fungi and bacteria, insect bites can also lead to blood poisoning in very rare cases. A distinction must be made between this and the allergic reaction that can also occur after an insect bite. General symptoms such as high fever, strong inflammatory reactions at the bite site or a pronounced feeling of illness should result in a visit to the doctor.

What are the signs?

Insect bites are only very rarely the cause of blood poisoning. There are, however, signs that can indicate blood poisoning. Very high fever, sudden vomiting, diarrhoea or a general feeling of illness are very untypical reactions to insect bites in our latitudes and should therefore be clarified by a doctor.

Chills, circulatory problems or loss of consciousness are also signs of blood poisoning after an insect bite. Pronounced inflammatory reactions at the site of the bite can also lead to the suspicion of blood poisoning. However, swelling or redness of the bite can also be a normal reaction to the bite and need not necessarily be a cause for concern. .

The diagnosis

The diagnosis of blood poisoning includes several important diagnostic tools. The first important measure is microbiological diagnostics, which is intended to identify the pathogen. This involves taking swabs from the puncture site and taking blood cultures.

In addition, further laboratory diagnostics are arranged. Important parameters are the white blood cells (leukocytes), which can be either elevated or lowered in the case of blood poisoning. The inflammation values procalcitionin and CRP are usually elevated in blood poisoning and are also determined.

The lactate value is also elevated. In addition to these diagnostic measures, it is also very important to examine the patient and ask about his symptoms. Typical symptoms are high fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, loss of consciousness, circulatory problems and cold sweat. The injection site may be swollen and reddened. However, the assessment of the puncture site is of secondary importance, as it can be swollen and reddened even without the presence of blood poisoning.