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White Blood Cells

White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, fight infection. There are different types of white cells that fight infection together and in different ways.

Neutrophils:       kill bacteria and fungi.

Eosinophils:       kill parasites.

Basophils:          work with neutrophils to fight infection.

Monocytes:        work with neutrophils and lymphocytes to fight infection; they also help with antibody production and act as scavengers to remove dead tissue. These cells are known as monocytes when they are found in the blood and macrophages when they migrate into body tissues to help fight infection.

T-cells:               kill viruses, parasites and cancer cells; produce cytokines.

B-cells:               make antibodies which target microorganisms.

When your white cell count drops below normal you are at risk of infection. The normal adult white cell count varies between 3.7 and 11 x 109/L


Neutropenia is the term used to describe a lower than normal neutrophil count. If you have a neutrophil count of less than 1 (1 x 109/L) you are considered to be neutropenic and at risk of developing frequent and sometimes severe infections. The normal adult neutrophil count varies between 2.0 and 7.5 x 109/L