Andrew Wakefield and colleagues from the Royal Free and University College Medical School, London (the group who sparked the recent MMR-autism controversy) also proposed the idea that mumps virus infection before the age of two years is causally associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The claim is made on the basis of epidemiological and immunohistochemical findings. But in May Gut Iizukaa and colleagues from Akita University School of Medicine, Japan refute the Wakefield hypothesis and demonstrate that there is no evidence of persistent mumps virus infection in inflammatory bowel disease.

Iizukaa et al performed amplification of the mumps virus genome in 16 patients with IBD and control subjects. They investigated both intestinal specimens and peripheral blood lymphocytes by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) followed by Southern blotting with primers specific to the viral phosphoprotein or haemagglutinin-neuraminidase sequences. The mumps virus genome was not detected by RT-PCR in intestinal...

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