June 20, 2000 Measles Persistence Confirmed with Autistic Enterocolitis Measles Persistence Confirmed in Some IBD, Autistic Enterocolitis Patients Japanese and UK-based scientists have detected measles virus sequences in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and autistic enterocolitis - the recently described syndrome purportedly associated with measles-mumps-rubella vaccination. Dr. Hisashi Kawashima from Tokyo Medical University and colleagues there and in London explain that previous studies have suggested that measles virus may be present in the intestine of Crohn's disease patients. They also allude to the reported association between measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination and some cases of autistic enterocolitis, a syndrome of gastrointestinal symptoms and developmental regression in children leading to autism. Numerous other reports, however, have discounted that association. In the present study, the authors examined PBMCs from patients with these disorders, in order to determine whether any detected measles viruses were derived from wild-type or vaccine strains. The study team reports in the April issue of Digestive Diseases and Sciences, that "one of eight patients with Crohn's disease, one of three patients with ulcerative colitis and three of nine patents with autism, were positive [for measles virus sequences]." In contrast, measles virus was not detected in any control patients. According to the paper, measles sequences isolated from Crohn's patients were characteristic of wild-type strains, whereas those from patients with ulcerative colitis and autism had characteristics of vaccine strains. The study investigators note that these "results were concordant with the exposure history of patients." In an interview with Reuters Health, Dr. Kawashima said that "because measles vaccine and sporadic strains were detected in several immunologic diseases, the implications of our study are uncertain." He added that "whilst the detection of measles viruses in Crohn's disease are not important, if further cases of autistic enterocolitis are detected after MMR vaccination, our study will be very significant." At an April hearing of the House Government Reform Committee, the National Network for Immunization Information stated that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that autism is associated with childhood vaccination. Dig Dis Sci 2000;45:723-729.