In most cases of thrombocytopenia caused by bacteria or a virus, the treatment approach is to treat the underlying infection. In all cases, these diseases are accompanied by other symptoms not associated with ITP, although the person may present only with low platelets. The usual treatments for ITP can be harmful as well as ineffective in some of these diseases.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
The association between HIV and low platelets has been known since the 1980s. Thrombocytopenia, in these cases, can be caused by a combination of impaired bone marrow, compromised immune system and a reaction to some medications.
Resources and research providing insight into HIV and low platelets include:
- The mechanism of thrombocytopenia in patients with HIV infection
- Prevalence, severity, and duration of thrombocytopenia among HIV patients in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy
The liver makes thrombopoietin, the protein that prompts the bone marrow to release platelets, as well as clotting factors needed for blood to clot. Liver disease can cause both thrombocytopenia and increased clotting time. Of the liver diseases, hepatitis C is most often associated with low platelets and mistaken for ITP.
Resources and research providing insight into hepatitis C and low platelets include:
- Hepatitis C virus-related thrombocytopenia: clinical and laboratory characteristics compared with chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura
- Thrombocytopenia in liver disease
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease usually found in tropical or sub-tropical climates.
Resources and research providing insight into malaria and low platelets include:
- Changes in platelet count in uncomplicated and severe falciparum malaria
- Thrombocytopenia in hospitalized malaria patients
Ticks are small, wingless parasites that feed on blood and are found all over the world. Ticks can be infected with bacteria, viruses, or parasites and can easily transmit these infectious organisms to humans and other animals through their bite. It is not uncommon for an individual tick to harbor more than one infectious microorganism and infect the patient with multiple pathogens at the same time, compounding the difficulty in diagnosis and treatment. Low platelets are present in nearly all tick-borne illnesses. Diseases caused by tick-borne pathogens in the United States include: Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, Tularemia, Anaplasmosis, Colorado tick fever, Powassan encephalitis and Q fever.
Resources and research providing insight into tick-borne diseases and low platelets include:
- Mechanisms of Thrombocytopenia in Tick-Borne Diseases
- Tick-Borne Diseases
- CDC: Tick-Borne Diseases
- Recurrent thrombocytopenia and Lyme disease
- Immune thrombocytopenic purpura as a complication of Bartonella henselae infection
- Human Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis
- Emergence of a new pathogenic Ehrlichia species, Wisconsin and Minnesota, 2009
Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori)
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a bacteria widely associated and studied in conjunction with ITP. There are numerous reports of people diagnosed with ITP, particularly in Italy and Japan, who have recovered after being treated for H. pylori.
Resources and research providing insight into H. pylori and low blood platelets:
- Effects of eradication of Helicobacter pylori infection in patients with immune thrombocytopenic purpura: a systematic review
- Helicobacter pylori and ITP: many questions, few answers
Hantavirus is transmitted to humans through rodent bites, urine, saliva or waste.
Resources and research providing insight into hantavirus and low blood platelets:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Emerging Infectious Diseases
- Platelet ligands and ADAMTS13 during Puumala hantavirus infection and associated thrombocytopenia
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a type of herpes virus, and like the other viruses in this family, it can remain dormant in the body for a long period of time.
Resources and research providing insight into cytomegalovirus and low blood platelets:
- Clinical and radiologic evaluation of cytomegalovirus-induced thrombocytopenia in infants between 1 and 6 months of age
- Cytomegalovirus-induced thrombocytopenia in an immunocompetent adult
Parvovirus B19 is transmitted by humans via respiratory droplets and is associated with low platelets and petechia rash. Parvovirus in animals is not transmitted to humans.
Resources and research providing insight into parvovirus B19 and low blood platelets include:
- Parvovirus B19 thrombocytopenic purpura complicated with a cerebral hemorrhage
- Association of human parvovirus B19 infection and childhood idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura: a meta analysis of Chinese literatures
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever
A more severe form of dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever, transmitted by mosquitos, includes thrombocytopenia, petechiae, and bruising among its symptoms. Prior immunity to dengue fever plays a role in developing this more serious variety.
Resources and research providing insight into dengue hemorrhagic fever and low blood platelets include:
- A dengue infection without bleeding manifestations in an adult with immune thrombocytopenic purpura
- Serious Thrombocytopenia Due to Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever Treated with High Dosages of Immunoglobulin