Neutropenia: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 3/27/2021

Neutropenia is a term that refers to abnormally low levels of a type of white blood cell known as neutrophils. Neutrophils help the body fight infections.

Signs and symptoms that can suggest neutropenia are related to the increased susceptibility to infection. These can include

  • low-grade fever,
  • abscesses of the skin,
  • mouth sores,
  • swollen gums, and
  • other signs of infection of the skin, rectal area, mouth, or elsewhere in the body.

Infections such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs) can occur in people with neutropenia.

Causes of neutropenia

Neutropenia is not a disease itself but can be caused by many conditions. Possible causes of neutropenia include congenital disorders of the bone marrow, chemotherapy for cancer, infections, certain medications (drug-induced neutropenia), and autoimmune disorders.

Other neutropenia symptoms and signs


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.