Neutropenia Overview

Neutropenia is a rare blood disorder characterized by abnormally low levels of certain white blood cell called a neutrophil. Neutrophils play an essential role in fighting bacterial infections by surrounding and destroying invading bacteria. Neutropenia can affect anyone; however, it is most common in African Americans and Yemenite Jews. Neutropenia can become a very serious condition because without enough neutrophils, children can be vulnerable to bacterial infections that can become life threatening. 

Signs and Symptoms


Shaking Chills

Sore Throat

Cough or shortness of breath

Nasal Congestion

Diarrhea or loose bowels

Burning during urination

Unusual redness, swelling or warmth at the site of an injury 

Forms of Neutropenia

Congenital:  Congenital neutropenia is a severe and inherited form of disease, most commonly occurring in babies and young children. Symptoms such as frequent fevers, mouth sores, ear infections, pneumonia or rectal sores are the most common to occur. If untreated children may lose their teeth or develop severe gum infections. The most severe form of congenital neutropenia is called Kostmann's syndrome.    

Cyclical: Cyclical neutropenia is a hereditary condition and is often present in several members of the same family. This condition can occur in both children and adults. Cyclic neutropenia tends to occur every three weeks and can last three to six days at a time. Fever, illness and mouth ulcers are the most common symptoms for people with this condition, with conditions tending to improve after puberty.     

Chronic Benign: Chronic benign neutropenia also known as idiopathic is a rare form of neutropenia that can often result in life-threatening infections. This is the most common condition for children under four years of age. The rates of infections tend to decrease with age.

Facts about Neutropenia

There are more than 200,000 cases of Neutropenia in the US each year across children and adults

Neutropenia is common after receiving chemotherapy treatment

Contact a CCBF doctor

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call 212-746-3400.