What Does a Low Neutrophil Count Mean?

By Max. D Gray. Updated: March 25, 2022
What Does a Low Neutrophil Count Mean?

Neutrophils are the most common type of white blood cells in our blood, responsible for eliminating bacteria and other organisms that invade the body, preventing them from affecting our health. So, if after doing a blood test, it shows that neutrophil levels are low, it's important to determine the cause of this decline, in order to ensure the effectiveness of immune system function. At we'll explain some common reasons that explain why neutrophils are low.

You may also be interested in: What is a normal neutrophil count
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It's important to know what are considered normal neutrophil levels, to identify whether they are in fact low. Although blood tests can show these levels, they may vary slightly from one laboratory to another. Normal levels of neutrophils should be between 2000 and 7500 /ml, though a count of 1500 to 8000/ml is also acceptable. If the count is less than 2000 / ml, the white blood cell count is considered to be low.

The name given to low levels of neutrophils is Neutropenia, which can have several causes. This condition can cause bacteria that are normally in your body to become a risk of infection.


There are several reasons that may cause a decline in neutrophils or neutropenia, and the most common are the following:

  • The flu, especially with severe and persistent symptoms.
  • Vitamin deficiency.
  • A viral infection
  • Malaria.
  • Lyme disease
  • A moderate to severe bacterial infection or one that's widespread. This can include Salmonella.
  • Aplastic anemia, due to this condition affecting the bone marrow.
  • People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may also experience a low neutrophil count.

We should note that a low neutrophil blood count may also be congenital. Kostman's syndrome is a condition where the body produces less neutrophils and Myelokathexis, a condition in which not enough neutrophils can enter the bloodstream.


Other more serious conditions that can lead to decreased levels of neutrophils in the blood include:

  • Leukaemia.
  • Damage to the bone marrow.
  • AIDS
  • Hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
  • Hyperspleninsm.
  • Patients undergoing treatment for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Neutrophils are created in the bone marrow, which is why many diseases that affect the bone marrow involve a decrease in Neutrophil levels, as the production is disrupted in such case.


Since it's clear that there are various causes of low neutrophil levels, it's important that, if a blood test indicates a low white blood cell count, you consult a hematologist who will perform an exam to determine the reason for this decline.

You can also check our article on how to interpret a blood test or the normal range of eosinophils.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What Does a Low Neutrophil Count Mean?, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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What did you think of this article?
I have Arachnoiditis 6+ yrs, could this cause low WBC/NEUT ?
Mellissa Willoughby
For the past couple of years, I have been having issues with my upper abdomen feeling like there is pressure and some pain on my left side behind my ribcage, it almost reminds me of when I had mono when I was a teenager (the pain) because my spleen almost ruptured they almost took it out but I ended up being fine again overnight. Now though I can not get anyone to listen to me when I tell them that it feels like it did when almost ruptured. Now that my blood test come back with low levels of WBC and neutrophils I wonder if they will listen now. I am being sent to a hematologist because of the low levels that have been decreasing over the last few weeks. I just hope it is not something too serious.
Mark Rossnagel
My wife has had Carcinoid cancer for 19 years. She has had many very strong treatments including LU 177 Dotatate. That treatment has been linked to her now having HR-MDS on top of her other cancer. She is undergoing chemo again along with Neulasta and Zarxio shots to try and build up her damaged marrow.
Keith C Hinds
A lab result of 45.1 ?
I have been told to quit taking my Lamictal because of a recent low neutrophil white blood count.n my count is in the 200’s. In all my research today, I have not found any article stating that this would be a cause to low neutrophil. In fact, some articles gave the opposite response in that it caused an increase in neutrophil cells. What is the truth and what should be my next step?
lizette boekelman
On Monday I went to see my Dr. She informed me that I have an enlarged bile duct and that my Neutrophil level was .9 . I have to wait 3 months before I get to see a Specialist. Could you explain to me what I have to look for in the meantime?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Lizette,

The reason you are waiting to see a specialist is because they are the only one who can assess the reasons for your count. We cannot give any advice because we do not know the specifics of your medical picture. Doing otherwise would be irresponsible. We can say is that you need to look after your general health and well-being, so this article on foods which increase white blood cells might be helpful:

Otherwise, if you have any symptoms which could be seen as emergency, don't hesitate to go see a doctor before your specialist appointment. Good luck!
Lisa Hendy
My daughter suffers from cold urticaria, and also gets blood rashes that don't disappear when pressure is applied. The latest rash of this kind appeared on both her shoulders and the only reason she could give was that a much smaller girl in her school had put her hands on my daughters shoulders and jumped up that same day. My daughter had blood tests at the end of 2017 and her WBC count had dropped from 8.4 to 4.7 in just over a year and her Neutrophils count had dropped from 3.5 to 1.9 and from what I understand from the normal ranges stated it should be 2.5-7.4 is this correct and should we be concerned in the drop especially considering her CU and the non blanching rashes?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Lisa,

The normal neutrophil count is above 1,500/ml (1.5), so your daughter's level appears to be in a healthy range. However, the information we provide here is merely informative and should not be used in replacement of a qualified physician's advice. There are many other symptoms which need to be monitored and checked, they are the only ones who can do this. If your doctor did not explain or give any sort of evaluation when the readings were taken, you should go back to get it from them.
What Does a Low Neutrophil Count Mean?
What Does a Low Neutrophil Count Mean?

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