ALBANY, N.Y. — Teachers in New York state are being encouraged to teach students of all ages how to prevent sepsis.

Sepsis strikes more than 1.5 million people in the United States a year and kills more than 250,000, but many don’t know what it is. Once misleadingly called blood poisoning, sepsis occurs when the body goes into overdrive while fighting an infection, injuring its own tissue.

State education officials said Friday they are working with state lawmakers and the Rory Staunton Foundation for Sepsis Prevention to raise awareness. The Education Department has sample lessons on its website.