Kostmann's syndrome is the most common example of congenital neutropenia. Infants with the disease experience severe neutropenia — a low level of a type of white blood cells — in the first few weeks of life and are prone to bacterial infections. Developmental delays and epilepsy also arise as they grow. Fifty years ago, infants born with Kostmann's syndrome typically died from infection in the first year of life, but today most live beyond age 20. The condition affects fewer than 200,000 people in the US.
Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that fights infection, primarily bacterial infections. In people with neutropenia, the body does not have enough neutrophils. Parameters for the condition vary by age. For infants, neutrophils typically climb during the first 72 hours after birth and slowly decrease during the first two months. Long labors can increase the level of neutrophils, and prematurity can lower them.
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