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No evidence of persisting measles virus in the intestinal tissues of patients with inflammatory bowel disease
  1. Yasmin D’Souza1,
  2. Serge Dionne2,
  3. Ernest G Seidman2,
  4. Alain Bitton2,
  5. Brian J Ward3
  1. 1Divisions of Infectious Diseases, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  2. 2Divisions of Gastroenterology, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  3. 3Divisions of Infectious Diseases, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
    B J Ward
    Montreal General Hospital, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Room D7-153, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3G 1A4; brian.ward{at}mcgill.ca

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The hypothesis that measles virus (MV) is implicated in the pathogenesis of Crohn’s disease (CD) was initiated by Wakefield et al1 in the early 1990s. Several other reports soon followed, which suggested the presence of MV in CD samples using electron microscopy, immunohistochemical analysis, in situ hybridisation and nested PCR.2–4 Controversy in response to this claim resulted in falling measles vaccination rates, mainly in the UK. Immediate concerns were raised regarding several aspects of these studies, including reagent specificity.5 In addition, several groups were unable to replicate their findings using a range of PCR techniques.6–9

In 1998 and 2002, the initial investigators again raised concerns over MV persistence in bowel tissue, this time in children with autism.10 These allegations further damaged confidence in MV vaccination programmes. As the primer pairs that had been used to implicate MV in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD; Kawashima)4 and autism (Uhlmann)10 were not included in the negative studies,6–9 it could still be argued that the negative results arose due to the use of incorrect or suboptimal primers. We therefore used the Kawashima and Uhlmann primers in an attempt …

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