A prospective study of 116 patients with acute pancreatitis included routine screening for evidence of viral infection. Five patients (all female) exhibited significant rising antibody titres to Coxsackie B or mumpsvirus, while none of the remaining 111 patients did. Diarrhoea was a prodromal feature of the pancreatitis in those patients with evidence of viral disease. Screening patients with acute pancreatitis for Coxsackie B and mumpsvirus infections is worthwhile in the identification of aetiological factors and may minimise protracted biliary investigations. The incidence of "idiopathic" acute pancreatitis in this study was 5-2% (six patients).
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