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Flu virus may spark appendicitis

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Scientists have revealed that a flu virus may be the cause of appendicitis.

The researchers pointed to a rise in appendicitis cases during the summer to back up their link to the infection.

The Archives of Surgery study, which screened US hospital admissions for appendicitis, influenza, and gastric viral infections, also questioned whether surgery is always the necessary path in the treatment of the condition.

The inflammation of an appendicitis is thought to be caused by a faecal blockage.

The study, which analysed data from as far back as 36 years ago, found appendicitis peaked in the years 1977, 1981, 1984, 1987, 1994 and 1998. The clustering pattern suggested outbreaks typical of viral infections. Seasonal trends were also uncovered, showing a slight increase in the number of appendicitis cases during the summer months.

Study leader Dr Edward Livingston, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in Dallas, said: “The peaks and valleys of appendicitis cases generally matched up over time, suggesting it is possible that these disorders share common etiologic (causative) determinates, pathogenetic (disease-related) mechanisms or environmental factors that similarly affect their incidence.”

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