An eosinophil is a type of white blood cell that is produced in the bone marrow. These cells, which are normally found in the bloodstream and gastrointestinal tract, produce proteins that help the body fight against infections from parasitic organisms like hookworms.
Eosinophilia is a condition that develops when there are too many eosinophils in the bloodstream or body tissues. Eosinophils make up about 1-3% of a healthy person's white blood cells, which is about 350 to 650 eosinophils per cubic millimeter of blood. Eosinophilia can be mild (less than 1,500 eosinophils per cubic millimeter), moderate (1,500 to 5,000 per cubic millimeter) or severe (more than 5,000 per cubic millimeter).
Many disorders can cause eosinophilia. Parasitic infections (like hookworm schistosomiasis), allergic conditions (like asthma and hay fever), immune disorders (like Churg-Strauss syndrome), Hodgkin's disease, Addison's disease and drug reactions are responsible for most cases of eosinophilia.
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