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What are the causes for low platelet count?

Q: My brother age 78 years has a platelet count of 98, he had fever of 100 degrees for one day about a week ago. His Hg is 15 his Neutrophils and Lymphocytes are 45% each. The doctor is treating him for Malaria but could you please tell us what are the causes for low platelet count?

A:Thrombocytopenia is the term for a reduced platelet (thrombocyte) count. Normally it ranges from 150,000-450,000/ul. It occurs when platelets are lost from the circulation faster than they can be replaced from the bone marrow where they are made. Thrombocytopenia may either result from a failure of platelet production and/or an increased rate of removal from blood. It may be caused by impaired platelet production (problem in the bone marrow) or increased peripheral destruction (due to fever, infections, drugs etc.). If his platelet counts continue to be low despite his recovery from fever, he would need to consult a hematologist.

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