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In most cases, we do now know the cause of ITP in children. It is not contagious, meaning a child cannot "catch it" from playing with another child with ITP. Nothing the parents or the child did caused the disorder.
Viral Infections and ITP
Often, a child may have had a virus or viral infection about three weeks before developing ITP. Scientists believe that the body, when making antibodies against the virus, may have "accidentally" made an antibody that sticks to the platelet cells. The body then recognizes these platelet cells with antibodies as foreign cells and destroys them. That is why ITP is referred to as an immune disease, because the body is attacking itself.
Blood Tests for ITP
The bone marrow is the soft, spongy center of the long bones and is responsible for making blood cells, including platelets. The bone marrow responds to the low number of platelets in the body and produces many more. This means a doctor looking at the cells in the bone marrow of a child with ITP would see many young platelets. However, blood test results would show a very low number of platelets.
This is because the body is producing the cells normally, but the body is also destroying them. In most cases, other blood tests are normal except for the low number of platelets. ITP platelets usually survive only a few hours, in comparison to normal platelets which have a lifespan of seven to 10 days.
Medications and ITP
There has been research involved in looking at certain medications causing ITP. Some medications may result in the altering of platelet function. At this time, however, research has not proven a direct link with any specific medication that may cause ITP.
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