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Raised or high WBC

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Leucocytosis is an increase in the number of white blood cells in the blood. It is a common feature of inflammatory reactions, particularly those caused by bacteria. The type of leucocyte increasing in number is dependent on the stimulus type and chronicity; subtypes include:

  • neutrophilia
  • basophilia
  • eosinophilia
  • lymphocytosis
  • monocytosis

The level of leukocytosis is an insensitive guide to the severity of established infection. Typical values are:

  • abscesses: 11-20 * 10^9 per litre
  • peritonitis: >20 * 10^9 per litre
  • septicaemia: up to 100 * 10^9 per litre - a leukaemoid reaction - or conversely, very low levels

Leukocytosis should be contrasted with leukopenia.

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