Published: 2017-11-22

The total leucocyte count: its utility in dengue

Anagha A. Joshi, Gayathri B. R., Yashica Gowda R.


Background: Dengue infections are public health concerns in India, where they occur in epidemics and have a high mortality in the advanced stages. Clinical features are nonspecific, and diagnosis is supported by lab features. One of these lab tests include total leucocyte count-easily available, simple and cost effective which is useful in small rural set ups for early diagnosis and prognosis of dengue. The aim of this study is to analyse the total leucocyte count patterns in dengue and assess its utility as early marker of dengue and prognosticator of severe dengue.

Methods: A total of 132 serologically proven cases of dengue with total white cell counts (blood counts obtained by Automated hematology analyser) during November 2016 were analysed.

Results: In our study, most cases were noted in the younger age group with a male predominance. The range of total leucocyte count was 1.1x109 /l to 14.3x109/l. Most (55%) had normal counts, leucopenia was noted in 36%, had an equal distribution in all ages and both sexes. 82% had mild leucopenia,52% of leucopenia cases were associated with severe thrombocytopenia. Almost half (47%) of leucopenia cases were NS1 positive while only 15% were antibody positive.59% of NS1 positive had leucopenia in contrast to 13% of antibody positive cases. While leucopenia was mostly (55%) associated with neutrophilia, lymphocytosis was seen in 74% of cases with a normal leucocyte count.

Conclusions: Total leucocyte count is one of the simple, easily available, cost effective tests useful in small rural set ups for early diagnosis and prognosis in dengue and helps reduce the morbidity and mortality of dengue.


Dengue fever, Leucopenia, Lymphocytosis, Thrombocytopenia

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