Pancreatic Enzyme Elevation in Measles

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During an outbreak of measles in the period from May 1993 through February 1994, a 23-year-old woman with measles was admitted because of abdominal pain and vomiting. Moderately elevated levels of serum and urinary amylase were found. We investigated prospectively the next nine consecutive young adults hospitalized with severe measles. Pancreatic and other organ involvement was determined by serum and urinary amylase, serum lipase, and additional appropriate biochemical and hematological data. Four patients had elevated amylase levels in both serum and urine, whereas in one, serum amylase alone was increased. Serum lipase determined in eight patients was elevated in seven. In all patients elevated serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase or Iactate dehydrogenase were found. In seven patients serum calcium concentrations were below the lower limit of normal. Four patients had mild to moderate thrombocytopenia. This is the first detailed report of pancreatic involvement in young adults with measles. This abnormal finding, its possible underlying mechanisms, and the clinical significance are discussed.

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