Finding and controlling the source of infection

Finding and controlling the source of infection

People have the right to be involved in discussions and make informed decisions about their care, as described in NICE's information on making decisions about your care.

Making decisions using NICE guidelines explains how we use words to show the strength (or certainty) of our recommendations, and has information about prescribing medicines (including off-label use), professional guidelines, standards and laws (including on consent and mental capacity), and safeguarding.

1.17 Everyone


Tailor investigations of the sources of infection to the person's clinical history and to findings from examination. [2016]


Consider urine analysis and chest X‑ray to identify the source of infection in all people with suspected sepsis. [2016]


Consider imaging of the abdomen and pelvis if no likely source of infection is identified after clinical examination and initial tests. [2016]


Involve the relevant surgical team early on if surgical or radiological intervention is suitable for the source of infection. The surgical team or interventional radiologist should:

  • seek senior advice about the timing of intervention 

  • carry the intervention out as soon as possible, in line with the advice received. [2024]

For guidance on contraindications to lumbar puncture, see the section on lumbar puncture in the NICE guideline on bacterial meningitis and meningococcal disease.

For a short explanation of why the committee made the 2024 recommendation and how it might affect practice, see the rationale and impact section on finding and controlling the source of infection.

Full details of the evidence and the committee's discussion are in evidence review C: early management of suspected sepsis (except antibiotic therapy) in the NEWS2 population, in acute hospital settings.

1.18 Children aged 3 months or less

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)