Dynasty Star Christopher Cazenove Dies from Septicemia

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Sixty-four year old British actor Christopher Cazenove, best known in America for the role of Ben Carrington in the 1980s prime-time soap opera “Dynasty” and in movies such as “3 Men and a Little Lady” and “A Knight’s Tale”, has acquired the infection in February and quickly sought treatment at a London hospital.

Septicemia is a serious life-threatening condition characterized by the presence of bacteria in the blood. It is also known as sepsis, bacteremia, blood poisoning, and systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). It can start from an infection anywhere throughout the body, including infections in the lungs, abdomen, and urinary tract. The most common bacteria are those that are gram-negative, including pneumococcal infection or meningococcemia.

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Septicemia begins with abrupt onset of spiking fevers, chills, rapid breathing and rapid heart rate (tachycardia). Blood clotting problems can lead to a specific type of red spots on the skin called petechiae or ecchymosis. Symptoms can rapidly progress into serious illness, such as septic shock, hypotension (low blood pressure), decreased or cessation of urine output and change in mental status.

Once septic shock occurs, the spread of microorganisms, the tissue injury and the development of organ failure leads to a mortality rate as high as 40 to 60 percent in patients with immunosupression. About two-thirds of septicemia infections occur in those that are hospitalized with underlying diseases such as burns, cardiac or kidney disorders, diabetes, malnutrition, or excessive antibiotic use. In those with no underlying disease, the mortality rate is about 5%. Newborns and elderly are at the greatest risk.

Treatment of septicemia involves aggressive treatment of the infection with antibiotics.
Childhood vaccinations, including Haemophilus influenza B (HiB) and S. pneumonia, have reduced the number of cases of septicemia in children.

"All who knew and loved (Christopher) will be devastated by the loss of this incredible man who touched so many lives," read a family statement, released by his agent Lesley Duff.

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