Plasma cortisol levels were determined in 51 children on admission to hospital for a variety of acute illnesses which were associated with a lymphopenia, and again when the lymphocyte count had returned to normal. The ratio cortisol level/lymphocyte count was much higher in the acute phase of the illness than later when the lymphocyte count had returned to normal. It is concluded that the lymphocyte count is a useful means of detecting an acute stress condition, and the time of return of normal plasma cortisol levels.
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