Studies of peripheral blood lymphocytes were performed in 41 patients with acute viral hepatitis, in grade III-IV coma; 16 patients were in the third trimester of pregnancy. There were significant reductions in absolute lymphocyte count and T cell number in patients who succumbed to the disease, when compared with those who survived. B cell counts were similar in the two groups and migration inhibition test with BCG antigen was normal. It is postulated that a decrease in the number of cells interacting in cell-mediated immune reactions is related to prognosis in acute viral hepatitis.
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