Why are patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) at higher risk of infection from common bacteria?

Updated: May 12, 2021
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Lower serum immunoglobulin M (IgM) levels, impaired opsonization, and sluggish alternative complement pathway activation further increase susceptibility to other common infectious agents, including Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Salmonella typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli. Common infections include pneumonia, bronchitis, cholecystitis, pyelonephritis, cystitis, osteomyelitis, meningitis, and sepsis.

Pneumococcal sepsis continues to be a major cause of death in infants in some countries. Parvovirus B19 infection causes aplastic crises.

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