White blood cells are manufactured in bone marrow — the spongy tissue inside some of your larger bones. A low white blood cell count usually is caused by:
- Viral infections that temporarily disrupt the work of bone marrow
- Certain disorders present at birth (congenital) that involve diminished bone marrow function
- Cancer or other diseases that damage bone marrow
- Autoimmune disorders that destroy white blood cells or bone marrow cells
- Severe infections that use up white blood cells faster than they can be produced
- Medications, such as antibiotics, that destroy white blood cells
- Sarcoidosis (collections of inflammatory cells in the body)
Specific causes of a low white blood cell count include:
- Aplastic anemia
- Hypersplenism (an abnormality of the spleen causing blood cell destruction)
- Kostmann's syndrome (a congenital disorder involving low production of neutrophils)
- Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Myelokathexis (a congenital disorder involving failure of neutrophils to enter the bloodstream)
- Radiation therapy
- Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders
- Tuberculosis (and other infectious diseases)
Nov. 24, 2020
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.
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