What Is a Neutrophil Count in Blood Tests?

The absolute neutrophil count, or ANC, is the count of neutrophils per microliter of blood. The neutrophil is the most important infection-fighting white blood cell, and acts particularly against bacteria and fungi. A healthy individual has between 2,500 and 6,000 neutrophils per microliter of blood.

The neutrophil count in a blood test is important information to be considered about one’s health. An abnormally low count, which is 1,000 or fewer for an adult, renders the individual more vulnerable to infectious diseases, according to the American Cancer Society. Such a condition is called neutropenia. Severe neutropenia is when the ANC drops below 500 and, in this case, even the bacteria normally present in the mouth and the digestive tract can cause infections.