Is there a way to detect what the dead WBCs have spent their last hours attacking?

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Question from Richard:
Since white blood cells surround and attack an invader and then die, is there a way to detect what the dead WBCs have spent their last hours attacking?
 
Answer from Dr. Leclair:
 1.  The item is visible using a light microscope. So while that will allow you to pick up a lot of bacteria, it won't show any viruses or very small bacteria. 
2.   The bacteria or fungi in question was only recently eaten. The degradation process reduces all phagocytized material to undecipherable blobs rather quickly.

So while it can be done, it is more of a matter of luck than anything else. Sorry.

 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Have a question for the experts? Send them to questions@patientpower.info.

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Page last updated on February 5, 2015