Infection prevention in neutropenic patients

  • D. Van Der Waaij
  • H. G. De Vries-Hospers


Infection remains the principal cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with severe granulocytopenia. The interrelationships between fever, neutropenia, infection and disease status are complex. Neutropenia can be associated with bone marrow malignancies, at various stages or in relation to remission induction therapy, and even with infection. Patients with acute leukaemia often present with neutropenia due to bone marrow failure as a result of leukaemic cell infiltration. It is not clear whether the marrow suppression in acute nonlymphocytic leukaemia is due to suppression of stem cell activity or whether it is purely the result of occupancy of space in the marrow compartment by leukaemic cells. Many chemotherapeutic drugs used to treat leukaemia depress the marrow and impair granulocytopoiesis; this reduces cellular immunity and finally may influence the humoral response in an unpredictable way. In addition to their effects on the bone marrow, many chemotherapeutic drugs cause mucosal damage and ulceration, which may promote the spread of potentially pathogenic microorganisms in the oropharynx and the intestines.


Digestive Tract Nalidixic Acid Throat Swab Faecal Culture Selective Decontamination 
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. Boston/Dordrecht/Lancaster 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Van Der Waaij
  • H. G. De Vries-Hospers

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