|Classification and external resources|
Pyaemia (or pyemia) is a type of septicaemia that leads to widespread abscesses of a metastatic nature. It is usually caused by the staphylococcus bacteria by pus-forming organisms in the blood. Apart from the distinctive abscesses, pyaemia exhibits the same symptoms as other forms of septicaemia. It was almost universally fatal before the introduction of antibiotics.
A general disease, characterized by recurring chills and intermittent fever and the formation of abscesses in various parts, all of which result from the contamination of the blood by products arising from a focus contaminated by the bacteria of suppuration.
Earlier still, Ignaz Semmelweis – who would later die of the disease – included a section entitled "Childbed fever is a variety of pyaemia" in his treatise, The Etiology of Childbed Fever (1861). Jane Grey Swisshelm, in her autobiography entitled Half a Century, describes the treatment of pyaemia in 1862 during the American Civil War.
The disease is characterized by intermittent high temperature with recurrent chills; metastatic processes in various parts of the body, especially in the lungs; septic pneumonia; empyema. It may be fatal.
Antibiotics are effective. Prophylactic treatment consists in prevention of suppuration.