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Neutropenia is an abnormally low number of white blood cells called neutrophils. Neutrophils help the body fight infection. This article discusses neutropenia in infants.
Neutrophils are produced in the bone marrow and released into the bloodstream to travel to wherever they are needed. Low levels of neutrophils occur when the bone marrow cannot replace them as fast as needed. A very severe infection may also prevent the bone marrow from producing more neutrophils.
In babies, the most common cause of neutropenia is infection.
Occasionally, an infant who is not sick will have a low neutrophil count for no apparent reason. Some disorders in the pregnant mother, such as preeclampsia, can also lead to neutropenia in infants.
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