Chronic granulomatous (gran-u-LOM-uh-tus) disease (CGD) is an inherited disorder that occurs when a type of white blood cell, called a phagocyte, doesn't work properly. Phagocytes usually help your body fight infections. When they don't work as they should, phagocytes can't protect your body from bacterial and fungal infections.

People with chronic granulomatous disease may develop infections in their lungs, skin, lymph nodes, liver, stomach and intestines, or other areas. They also may develop clusters of white blood cells in infected areas. Most people are diagnosed with CGD during childhood, but some people may not be diagnosed until adulthood.


People with chronic granulomatous disease experience serious bacterial or fungal infection every few years. An infection in the lungs, including pneumonia, is common. People with CGD may develop a serious type of fungal pneumonia after being exposed to dead leaves, mulch or hay.

It's also common for people with CGD to experience infections of the skin, liver, stomach and intestines, brain, and eyes. Symptoms associated with infections include:

  • Fever.
  • Chest pain when inhaling or exhaling.
  • Swollen and sore lymph glands.
  • An ongoing runny nose.
  • Skin irritation that may include a rash, swelling or redness.
  • Swelling and redness in the mouth.
  • Gastrointestinal problems that may include:
    • Vomiting.
    • Diarrhea.
    • Stomach pain.
    • Bloody stool.
    • A painful pocket of pus near the anus.

When to see a doctor

If you think you or your child has a type of fungal pneumonia from being around dead leaves, mulch or hay, get medical care right away. If you or your child has frequent infections and the symptoms listed above, talk to your health care provider.


A change in one of five genes can cause CGD. People with CGD inherit the changed gene from a parent. These genes produce proteins that form an enzyme. This enzyme helps your immune system work properly. The enzyme is active in white blood cells, called phagocytes, that protect you from infections by destroying fungi and bacteria. The enzyme is also active in immune cells that help your body heal.

When there are changes to one of these genes, the protective proteins are not produced. Or they're produced, but they don't function properly.

Some people with CGD don't have one of these changed genes. In these cases, health care providers don't know what causes the condition.

Risk factors

Boys are more likely to have CGD.

Chronic granulomatous disease care at Mayo Clinic

March 23, 2023

Living with chronic granulomatous disease?

Connect with others like you for support and answers to your questions in the Blood Cancers & Disorders support group on Mayo Clinic Connect, a patient community.

Blood Cancers & Disorders Discussions

Lori, Volunteer Mentor
My Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT/SCT) story: Will you share yours?

334 Replies Wed, Apr 17, 2024

Follicular Lymphoma: looking to connect with others

25 Replies Wed, Apr 17, 2024

Nodular sclerosing Hodgkin lymphoma (NSHL): What can I expect?

38 Replies Tue, Apr 16, 2024

See more discussions
  1. Zerbe CS, et al. Chronic granulomatous disease: Pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 8, 2023.
  2. Chronic granulomatous disease. Medline Plus. https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/chronic-granulomatous-disease?_ga=1.168947753.905232672.1468720729. Accessed Feb. 14, 2023.
  3. Chronic granulomatous disease. National Organization for Rare Disorders. https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/chronic-granulomatous-disease/?filter=ovr-ds-resources. Accessed Feb. 9, 2023.
  4. Marciano BE, et al. Chronic granulomatous disease: Treatment and prognosis. http://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 9, 2023.
  5. Chronic granulomatous disease (CGD). Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/immunology-allergic-disorders/immunodeficiency-disorders/chronic-granulomatous-disease-cgd. Accessed Feb. 9, 2023.
  6. Ami TR. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic. Nov. 23, 2022.
  7. Keller MD, et al. Future of care for patients with chronic granulomatous disease: Gene therapy and targeted molecular medicine. Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. 2018; doi:10.1093/jpids/piy011.
  8. Jeffrey Modell Foundation. https://info4pi.org/. Accessed Feb. 9, 2023.


Products & Services