A high white blood cell count usually indicates:

  • An increased production of white blood cells to fight an infection
  • A reaction to a drug that increases white blood cell production
  • A disease of bone marrow, causing abnormally high production of white blood cells
  • An immune system disorder that increases white blood cell production

Specific causes of high white blood cell count include:

  1. Acute lymphocytic leukemia
  2. Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  3. Allergy, especially severe allergic reactions
  4. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  5. Chronic myelogenous leukemia
  6. Drugs, such as corticosteroids and epinephrine
  7. Myelofibrosis
  8. Certain bacterial infections
  9. Certain viral infections
  10. Polycythemia vera
  11. Rheumatoid arthritis
  12. Smoking
  13. Stress, such as severe emotional or physical stress
  14. Tuberculosis
  15. Whooping cough

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Dec. 14, 2012