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Juntao Li Juntao Li
wrote...
Posts: 4
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3 months ago
This problem originates from USABO 2017 Semifinal #10 question.

I thought it should elevate the level since it's a viral infection, then there should be more white cells gathering around the lesion. But the answer says otherwise. I was confused and searched on google but there's no result. Thanks.

Adding a link is not allowed on my first post, so I can't share the exam pdf here for now.
The original question is :

If you were to have elevated levels of the cells shown below (stained red by the acidic
dye carbol chromotrope), it may be an indication of: Select ALL that apply.


A. Allergic reaction.
B. Cancer.
C. Chickpox.
D. Crohn’s disease.
E. Parasitic infection.

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6 Replies
Replies
wrote...
Educator
3 months ago
For anyone else curious, the picture looks like this:



Analysis:

When I see elevated white blood cell count, I immeditelity think the worst, like cancer. That would be my first choice.

Next, a high white blood cell count may also indicate an allergic responses.

Those would be my choices, but a third choice being a parasitic infection would have been something I would miss.
wrote...
3 months ago
Thanks. I didn't know the picture was a bunch of white cells, so  I thought chickenpox is also the answer.
wrote...
Educator
3 months ago
Google does mention that "Most children with varicella have leukopenia in the first 3 days, followed by leukocytosis." A higher-than-normal number of white blood cells is called leukocytosis.

So you're definitely on to something
wrote...
3 months ago
Maybe the white cell picture of chicken pox looks different than the picture shown in the question? Since viral infection gives more of  lymphocytes, I don't know if that would make a difference visually.
Answer accepted by topic starter
bio_manbio_man
wrote...
Educator
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Posts: 31036
3 months ago
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I see why chickenpox can't be an answer.

Normally, the total white blood cell (wbc) count is 5,000 to 10,000 cells per mm^3. Leukocytosis is when the count is >10,000 cells/mm^3 (the upper threshold). This happens during an infection, inflammation due to allergies, etc.

In contract, leukopenia, which occurs in the first 3 days of infection with chickenpox is when your wbc is <4,000 cells/mm^3. This too can indicate a viral infection or some bacterial infections. As you can see, the total wbc count only tells part of the story. Infections can cause both situations as we learned here: "Most children with varicella have leukopenia in the first 3 days, followed by leukocytosis." This is why I'm guessing chickenpox wasn't included as an answer. If the infection is prolonged, you start to see elevated levels.


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wrote...
3 months ago
Thanks, that makes more sense.
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