Parents of a boy whose battle with the flu led to a near-deadly case of a blood infection have warned of sepsis can kill children in hours.

Queensland 12-year-old, Caleb Logan, complained of a sore throat and was told he had a viral infection.

Just days later, he was rushed to the hospital where he needed a machine to breathe.

What was thought to be a simple case of the flu turned out to be sepsis, which caused Caleb's organs to shut down.


The Queensland resident was put in an induced coma and faced the prospect of death.

"We had to prepare ourselves that the next 24 to 48 hours was critical and he may not make it through the night," his mother Rachel told 7 News.

Caleb was put in an induced coma after suffering from sepsis. Photo / 7 News
Caleb was put in an induced coma after suffering from sepsis. Photo / 7 News

Caleb's doctor is now spearheading a landmark Queensland study hoping to diagnose sepsis with a simple blood test.

Associate Professor Lurgen Schlapbach told 7 News they hope they can develop a test that will tell doctors whether patients have sepsis or who may develop sepsis in 24 to 48 hours.

Sepsis develops when the chemicals the immune system releases into the bloodstream to fight an infection cause inflammation throughout the entire body instead. Severe cases can lead to septic shock.

There are more than a million cases of sepsis each year, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Symptoms of sepsis

A fever above 38C or a temperature below 36C
Heart rate higher than 90 beats a minute
Breathing rate higher than 20 breaths a minute
Probable or confirmed infection