(CNN) - According to a new study, the number of sepsis deaths around the world is double what researchers previously believed.
Sepsis occurs when a person's immune system overreacts to an infection, potentially causing organs to shut down.
A study published Thursday in the journal The Lancet estimates that sepsis accounts for roughly one in five deaths globally.
It also remains the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals and costs the nation $24 billion a year.
More than half of all sepsis cases worldwide in 2017 were children.