Crohn’s disease may be linked to measles, researchers in Sweden have suggested. The greatest risk of developing the disease occurs if measles is contracted by a newborn or the fetus is exposed to it while in the womb.

The link was made after studying cases of Crohn’s disease, or inflammation of the bowel, in central Sweden between 1945 and 1954.

Researchers at the University Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden discovered that 57 people developed the disease against the expected average of 39. During that period, there had been five measles epidemics during the trial period (The Lancet, 20 August 1994).

Some suggest the increase in prenatal measles is due to immunization against measles, where no maternal antibodies against measlesare passed on to infants.

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