Recognition that the patient is neutropenic by virtue of the underlying disease (e.g. neoplasm) or some form of treatment (e.g. chemotherapy) should be followed by a careful review of the following factors:

1. duration of the neutropenia and symptoms of infection (the history should be broadened to determine whether fever and evidence of infection developed in the community or in the hospital setting);

2. treatment for underlying disorders such as radiation, drug treatment (e.g. steroids), and transfusion of blood products;

3. history of previous infections (e.g. tuberculosis, HIV) and antibiotic treatment.

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