A low white blood cell count usually is caused by one of the following:

  • Viral infections that temporarily disrupt bone marrow function
  • Congenital disorders characterized by diminished bone marrow function
  • Cancer or other diseases that damage bone marrow
  • Autoimmune disorders that destroy white blood cells or bone marrow cells
  • Overwhelming infections that use up white blood cells faster than they can be produced
  • Drugs that destroy white blood cells or damage bone marrow

Specific causes of low white blood cell count include:

  1. Aplastic anemia
  2. Certain medications, such as antibiotics and diuretics
  3. Chemotherapy
  4. HIV/AIDS
  5. Hypersplenism, a premature destruction of blood cells by the spleen
  6. Infectious diseases
  7. Kostmann's syndrome, a congenital disorder involving low neutrophil production
  8. Leukemia
  9. Lupus
  10. Malnutrition
  11. Myelodysplastic syndromes
  12. Myelokathexis, a congenital disorder involving failure of neutrophils to enter the bloodstream
  13. Other autoimmune disorders
  14. Other congenital disorders
  15. Parasitic diseases
  16. Radiation therapy
  17. Vitamin deficiencies

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

Jan. 03, 2013