How is a CBC count with differential used in the workup of sepsis/septic shock and which findings indicate bacterial infection?

Updated: Oct 07, 2020
  • Author: Andre Kalil, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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The white blood cell (WBC) count and the WBC differential can be somewhat helpful in predicting bacterial infection, though an elevated WBC count is not specific to infection. In the setting of fever without localizing signs of infection, a WBC count higher than 15,000/µL or a neutrophil band count higher than 1500/µL has about a 50% correlation with bacterial infection. WBC counts higher than 50,000/µL or lower than 300/µL are associated with significantly decreased survival rates.

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