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What is Agranulocytosis?

Agranulocytosis is a lack of white blood cells which are normally produced in the bone marrow, and a subsequent inability of the body to defend itself from infection. There is often no apparent cause, but it may be due to a rare adverse reaction to some drugs, heavy metal poisoning or a complication of leukaemia and aplastic anaemia. It is diagnosed by examining blood and a bone marrow sample under a microscope.

Patients develop severe, uncontrollable bacterial and viral infections. Blood transfusion, and potent antibiotics by injection are the only treatments, but the condition is often fatal, says Dr. Warwick Carter in his book The Complete Family Medical Guide.

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