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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2012 Jun;31(6):575-7. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e318250084a.

Infectious etiologies of transient neutropenia in previously healthy children.

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Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait.



Healthy children presenting with neutropenia are often hospitalized and treated empirically with antibiotics without an evidence of infection. The objective of this study was to investigate the infectious causes of isolated transient neutropenia in otherwise previously healthy children.


A 2-year prospective study was conducted at a tertiary hospital in Kuwait. All previously healthy children (aged 1 month to 12 years) hospitalized with isolated neutropenia defined as absolute neutrophil count (ANC) ≤ 1.5 × 10/L were enrolled in the study. Investigations to identify the infectious causes included blood and urine culture for bacteria whereas for viruses, serology for Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, adenovirus, parvovirus and polymerase chain reaction for human herpes virus 6 and enterovirus were performed.


Fifty-five children were enrolled during the study. Children less than 2 years of age constituted 73% of the sample. There were 2 peaks of presentation: March-May (33%) and September-November (38%). Associated features were congested throat (56%), runny nose (53%) and cervical lymphadenopathy (20%). The median ANC on admission was 0.6 × 10/L. Associated infections were documented in 55% of enrolled children and were as follows: human herpesvirus 6, 30%; enterovirus, 23%; influenza A H1N1, 13%; parvovirus, 10%; Epstein-Barr virus, 10%; urinary tract infection, (Eshcherichia coli) 7%; and adenovirus, 7%. No serious bacterial infection was identified, and the mean time for recovery of the ANC was 16.7 ± 15 days.


Neutropenia in previously healthy children in Kuwait is caused by demonstrable infections in 55% of cases. Majority of children will recover their ANC completely within 1 month without significant infectious complications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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