Words fail to express my gratitude to the council and membership of the Surgical Infection Society (SIS) for bestowing the great honor on me as president of our society. I am deeply touched and I wish to express my sincere thanks to all of you for your kindness.
In 1997, of a global total of 52.2 million deaths, 17.3 million were caused by infectious and parasitic diseases.1 This exceeds the number of deaths caused by circulatory diseases, cancer, and respiratory diseases, and thus infections remain a major problem in the world. It has also been reported that every day in 1997, about 365,000 babies were born, and about 140,000 people died, giving a natural increase of about 220,000 people a day.1 The proportion of older people requiring support from adults of working age has increased from 10.5% in 1955 to 12.3% in 1995 and will further increase to 17.2% in 2025. Furthermore, the number of people over age 65 years is expected to rise from 390 million currently to 800 million by 2025, reaching 10% of the total population,1 and this important factor should also be taken into account in all future studies of all diseases and particularly sepsis.