An evaluation of indices of poor zinc status was undertaken in five male subjects in whom dietary zinc intake was reduced from 85 mumol d-1 in an initial phase of the study to 14 mumol d-1. One of the subjects developed features consistent with zinc deficiency after receiving the low zinc diet for 12 days. These features included retroauricular acneform macullo-papular lesions on the face, neck, and shoulders and reductions in plasma zinc, red blood cell zinc, neutrophil zinc and plasma alkaline phosphatase activity. Alcohol induced hepatitis, which was suspected in this subject, may have caused a predisposition to altered zinc metabolism and possible zinc deficiency which was exacerbated by subsequent zinc deprivation. The report supports the value of neutrophil zinc concentration as an indicator of poor zinc status.