Following some unclear messaging on Tuesday it was confirmed that James Bond and That ’70s Show actor Tanya Roberts died following sepsis that developed from a urinary tract infection (UTI), according to her long-time partner Lance O’Brien and a spokesman.
“With a heavy heart I can confirm the death of Tanya Roberts last night on January 4, 2021 around 9:30 p.m. PT at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA,” publicist Mike Pingel wrote in a statement posted to Roberts’ website. “Roberts’ cause of death was from a urinary tract infection which spread to her kidney, gallbladder, liver, and then blood stream.”
While UTIs are an incredibly common infection (most often affecting women), they are generally treated fairly quickly and effectively with antibiotics. As the CDC notes, a UTI occurs “when bacteria, often from the skin or rectum, enter the urethra, and infect the urinary tract. The infections can affect several parts of the urinary tract, but the most common type is a bladder infection (cystitis). Kidney infection (pyelonephritis) is another type of UTI.”
Per the agency, risk factors for a UTI turning to sepsis include being older than 55, diabetes, kidney stones and other ureter blockage issues.
Per the Sepsis Alliance, UTIs might not be identified by individuals with “limited or no sensation below the waist or who are unable to speak for themselves.”
“Untreated urinary tract infections may spread to the kidney, causing more pain and illness. It can also cause sepsis. The term urosepsis is usually used to describe sepsis caused by a UTI.Sometimes incorrectly called blood poisoning, sepsis is the body’s often deadly response to infection or injury,” per the organization. “Sepsis kills and disables millions and requires early suspicion and rapid treatment for survival. People shouldn’t die from a UTI, but if sepsis begins to take over and develops to severe sepsis and then to septic shock, this is exactly what can happen. More than half the cases of urosepsis among older adults are caused by a UTI.”
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