Xanet Scheepers

By Xanet Scheepers

Digital Lifestyle Editor


What is sepsis, the infection that destroyed Derek Watts’ body in an hour

Speaking to Maroela Media, Watts said he initially thought that he had a stroke.


Well-wishes for Carte Blanche presenter Derek Watts have been pouring in after he shared on Sunday that he has been learning to walk again after contracting severe sepsis.

The newsman was in Hoedspruit with his wife, Belinda and son, Tyrone when he started feeling unwell.

Speaking to Maroela Media, Watts said he initially thought that he had a stroke.

“We went for a short walk and when we came back, my body started shaking despite the heat. We wanted to go riding quad bikes, but I couldn’t get out of the car and Ty said there was something wrong. I felt as if I had lost all the strength in my body,” Watts said.

Watts said an MRI-scan showed that he hadn’t suffered any brain damage, and tests also indicated that there was nothing wrong with his heart.

Despite various tests being done, doctors have been unable to pinpoint the causes of Watts’s sepsis.

Watts who spend 10 days in hospital, five of which was in ICU, is back home recuperating with the help of his physiotherapist.

“I walked the corridors in the hospital with the help of my physiotherapist who assisted me with oxygen. My physiotherapist at home helped me walk for short distances, without any support,” he told the Afrikaans publication.

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What is sepsis?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. They explain that sepsis happen when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body.

Sepsis is a life-threating condition and without timely treatment, it can quickly lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death.

What causes sepsis?

Bacterial infections cause most cases of sepsis, but it can also be a result of other infections, including viral infections like Covid-19, flu or fungal infections.

Signs and symptoms

  • High heart rate or weak pulse
  • Fever, shivering or feeling very cold
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme pain or discomfort
  • Clammy or sweaty skin

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