CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
A high white blood cell count usually indicates:
- An increased production of white blood cells to fight an infection
- A reaction to a drug that increases white blood cell production
- A disease of bone marrow, causing abnormally high production of white blood cells
- An immune system disorder that increases white blood cell production
Specific causes of high white blood cell count include:
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia
- Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
- Allergy, especially severe allergic reactions
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia
- Drugs, such as corticosteroids and epinephrine
- Certain bacterial infections
- Certain viral infections
- Polycythemia vera
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Stress, such as severe emotional or physical stress
- Whooping cough
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.
- Humphries RL, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment Emergency Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=55756032. Accessed November 2, 2012.
- Cerny J, et al. Why does my patient have leukocytosis? Hematology Oncology Clinics of North America. 2012;26:303.
- McPherson RA, et al. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. New York, N.Y.: Elsevier Saunders; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0974-2..C2009-0-45915-4&isbn=978-1-4377-0974-2&uniqId=379967544-3#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0974-2..C2009-0-45915-4--TOP. Accessed Nov. 8, 2012.